Stubble burning: Farmers stage protests demanding cancellation of FIRs, penalty
Thousands of farmers on Monday held protests in various districts of Punjab against the Congress government demanding cancellation of registration of FIRs (first information reports) and imposition of penalty for burning paddy residue.
In Sangrur district, farmers and activists under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU Ugrahan) and BKU (Ekta-Dakaunda) raised slogans outside the offices of the deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) at Bhawanigarh, Dhuri, Moonak and Dirba, accusing the government of failing to provide alternative to stubble burning and instead resorting to registration of FIRs against them.
Joginder Singh, state chief of BKU (Ugrahan), said they held protests at 32 places in 13 districts and opposed the government’s anti-farmer policies.
“The burning of paddy residue added only 8% to the overall air pollution but the government and its agencies are silent about the rest. False cases against farmers across the state should be quashed. The peasantry is already reeling under crisis,” he said.
“The paddy yield also came down this time and the farmers are unable to pay any fine. The input costs are increasing and they need assistance to manage paddy stubble,” Singh added.
Farmers also protested outside the offices of DSPs in Bathinda, Mansa and Muktsar districts seeking cancellation of cases registered over burning of paddy residue.
In Bathinda district, protests were held outside offices of DSPs of Bhucho, Maur and Rampura Phul. In Mansa district, protests were held outside offices of the DSPs of Mansa, Budhlada and Sardulgarh while in Muktsar district protest was held outside Malout and Gidderbaha DSP offices.
BKU (Ekta - Ugrahan) leader Jhanda Singh Jethuke said the farmers had no other option but to burn paddy stubble as they are not in a position to bear the costs managing straw.
Jethuke said the farmers have been demanding free machinery or ₹200 per quintal bonus to manage the stubble without burning but the state and central governments paid no heed to their demands and are instead resorting to punitive action.
The union leaders said they will step up the protest in the coming days if the state government didn’t cancel the cases against farmers.