The banned practice of crop-residue burning continues in the district, as farmers are in a hurry to clear their fields for the next crop.
On Monday, police booked an offending farmer, Bahadur Singh of Fathepur village on Sangrur road, under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (defying the order promulgated by a public servant).
“There were more farmers on the spot but Bahadur Singh owned the field on fire,” said Passiana station house officer (SHO) Harwinder Singh.
The accused was arrested and produced in court, which granted him bail.
“The smoke blinded the commuters and could have caused an accident,” the SHO said. If convicted, the farmers will get a month’s jail and have to pay Rs 200 fine.
Agriculture experts say the first-information reports (FIRs) in stubble-burning cases are only indicative, and neither the administration nor the government wants to punish the crisisridden farmers, least of all in the election season.
The technologies available for the management of the stubble are not affordable.
“Farmers don’t get enough price for their product. How do they employ any other means to clear their fields unless the government comes to their aid?” Bharti Kisan Union (EktaDakaunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh said.
The district administration says subsidised mechanized alternatives to prevent the burning of straw are available.
These machines include balers, Happy seeders, reversible plough, and straw chopper.
“The biomass plant at Ghanaur lets out bailers to help farmers collect paddy stubble for the unit, and pays them handsomely,” said deputy commissioner Ramvir.
He advised the farmers to plough field along with residue, as it will be fertiliser for the next crop.