Ban on stubble-burning remains only on paper

  • Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times, Karnal
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2016 16:13 IST
Stubble-burning in a field at Asandh in Karnal district on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

The farmers in the region continue to burn wheat stubble in their fields, ignoring warnings by the state government that it poses health-related risks and affects soil health.

Though district-level authorities publish notices in newspapers that strict action will be taken against farmers found burning stubble, the ban remains on paper only.

Moreover, as the authorities concerned pay no visits to the fields to check the malpractice, farmers are not taking the directions seriously.

The Haryana government had imposed the ban on burning wheat and paddy residue, which can lead to prosecution of the erring farmers.

The reports collected from various districts in the northern region of the state suggest farmers still flout the ban in spite of the subsidy on farm implements such as happy seeder, rotavators and straw reapers for managing stubble in a sustainable manner.

“The government has imposed a ban, but farmers still prefer to burn stubble rather than adopting any alternatives,” a senior official of the Haryana agriculture department said.

Even on the outskirts of the Karnal city, several acres of stubble were burnt by farmers on the Yamunanagar road, but there was no action by the district authorities. The commuters face serious problems due to smog and it gets worse by the evening.

With over 70% of the wheat harvesting already over in the region, farmers are burning stubble for readying the fields for the next crops.

However, the officers of the Haryana Pollution Control Board said that they are going to form a committee after taking up the matter with the deputy commissioners for taking action against the farmers. “We have taken time from the deputy commissioners for a meeting so that the proposed committee, comprising tehsildars and patwaris, could be formed,” said Sanjeev Budhiraja, regional officer of the board.

When asked what action will be taken against the farmers, he said, “Directions have been issued under which the farmers will be fined Rs 2,500, Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 if they are found burning stubble in fields measuring up to 2 acres, 2 to 5 acres and above five acres, respectively.”

He, however, failed to explain the reason behind the delay in taking action against the erring farmers. He also had no reply to the question as to what action will be taken against the farmers who had already burnt the stubble and readied their fields for another crop.

When contacted, Yamunangar deputy commissioner SS Phulia said, “Tomorrow (Thursday) we have called a meeting in this regard, as per the new directions issued by the government.”

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