HC asks Punjab under which provisions it is booking farmers for stubble burning
A petition by Bharti Kissan Union is seeking adequate compensation to the farmers as they have been restrained from burning paddy straw, stubble and residue.punjab Updated: Oct 26, 2017 13:31 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday sought explanation from Punjab about the provisions under which farmers in the state are being booked for burning stubble in their fields.
The high court bench of justice Rajan Gupta was hearing a petition filed by Bharti Kissan Union, a Ludhiana-based farmers’ body. The government failed to file a response to the petition that was filed on October 13 and sought more time to do so. On the other hand, the petitioner’s lawyer told the court that nearly 100 farmers have been booked in the state for burning stubble during this harvest season, so far.
In their petition, the farmers’ union has sought direction for adequate compensation to the farmers as they have been restrained from burning paddy straw, stubble and residue.
The court was told that the booked farmers were fined between ₹2,500 to ₹15,000, and criminal action was also initiated against them. Apart from this, a red entry has also been made in the revenue record against them, making it difficult for them to avail benefits of welfare schemes.
The petitioner argued that the state’s policy is ‘oppressing’ farmers and ‘discouraging’ them from paddy cultivation. If the paddy straw is not burnt, it remains in the field and decays. The petitioner said that in the past, the court has directed the state to take proactive measures to provide affordable and readily available solutions to the farmers. However, nothing has been achieved in this regard.
The court, while posting the matter for the next hearing on November 20, asked Punjab’s chief secretary to depute a senior official to assist the court and also asked the government to file its response. The court also observed that the condition of farmers is pitiable and that instead of helping them, the government is acting against them.
In their petition, the farmers’ union has sought direction for adequate compensation to the farmers as they have been restrained from burning paddy straw, stubble and residue. During the last hearing, the court observed that it will examine whether government action of registering FIRs against farmers for burning stubble is in accordance with the law.