32 farmers fined in Bathinda, Muktsar for burning stubble
Officials of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) said that about 23 farmers were fined in Muktsar district for setting afire paddy stubble in their fields, while nine farmers of Bathinda district were fined Rs 27, 500 each. In Mansa district, one farmer was asked to pay Rs 5000 as penalty.Updated: Oct 26, 2019, 22:33 IST
With the spike in number of farm fires in the region over the past few days, the state government swung into action and imposed penalties on farmers who burned paddy stubble.
Officials of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) said that about 23 farmers were fined in Muktsar district for setting afire paddy stubble in their fields, while nine farmers of Bathinda district were fined Rs 27, 500 each. In Mansa district, one farmer was asked to pay Rs 5000 as penalty.
PPCB began fining the farmers who burned stubble only a couple of days ago as the officials were confused about a Punjab and Haryana high court order.
The region has been witnessing many farm fires in past few days, even as the number of incidents is lower than the number recorded last year in the same months. As many as 54 fires were recorded in Bathinda on Friday taking the total number to 163. Mansa recorded 244 and Muktsar 187 farm fires till Friday. PPCB officials said the number of incidents in these districts is also lower as compared to this time last year.
District president of BKU (EKta - Ugrahan) Shingara Singh Mann claimed that officials have been violating high court orders by levying penalties on farmers as the court has ordered the state government not to collect the earlier fine imposed as well as to not impose any further fine. He said the union will stand with penalised farmers.
“We have asked that the Centre and state government pay Rs 200 per quintal to farmers for managing paddy stubble but they haven’t accepted. The cost of managing stubble is high, so farmers are compelled to burn the crop residue if the government doesn’t help,” he said.
Farmers protest as revenue officials visit
Farmers under the banner of BKU (Ekta - Dakaunda) protested by burning paddy stubble outside Thuthiannwali police post as revenue officials visited a farmer’s fields to check farm fires in Khaila Kalan village, demanding that no action be taken against the farmer. “A complaint was received regarding stubble burning and we are verifying it,” said Balwinder Singh, station house officer, Sadar, Mansa.
Mahinder Singh, a union member said, “The government should pay incentives of Rs 200 per quintal to manage paddy residue. We support farmers who are burning the residue and will not allow revenue department officials to enter fields to verify cases of farm fires,” he said.