Haryana farmers unite to challenge ban on stubble burning, to burn paddy waste after protest in Kurukshetra

Farmers are alleging that the government’s decision to ban burning of paddy stubble has resulted in a labour crisis as many farmers are avoiding harvesting with combine harvesters.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2017 14:56 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Kurukshetra/Karnal
Haryana farmers,ban on stubble burning,burn paddy waste
“We will bring 50 tractor-trolleys laden with paddy waste and take a round of the city to try and find a buyer. If we fail, we will burn it,” Haryana BKU president Ratan Mann told Hindustan Times. (HT Photo)

Angry with Haryana government’s direction of taking action against farmers found burning paddy residue, defiant farmers have decided to challenge the authorities.

With a view to unite farmers, Bhartiya Kisan Union has decided to hold a protest in Ladwa of Kurukshetra district and are also planning to burn paddy waste in fields along the Kurukshetra-Saharnpur road.

“We will bring 50 tractor-trolleys laden with paddy waste and take a round of the city to try and find a buyer. If we fail, we will burn it,” Haryana BKU president Ratan Mann told Hindustan Times.

Haryana BKU members have decided to challenge the authorities as farmers in neighbouring Punjab are already holding protests against the stubble burning ban.

He said that the decision has been taken to make the government and the district administration aware of the problems being faced by farmers due to lack of support. We are ready to sell paddy straw if there is a buyer, farmers say. The district administration is increasing security deployment and is also planning to hold talks with the defiant farmers.

Haryana BKU members have decided to challenge the authorities as farmers in neighbouring Punjab are already holding protests against the stubble burning ban.

The farmers are also alleging that the government’s decision to ban burning of paddy stubble has resulted in a labour crisis as many farmers are avoiding harvesting with combine harvesters, which spreads paddy straw in fields, following which the manual harvesting cost has increased to Rs 7,000 per acre from Rs 5,500.

However, the government has assured that they were providing subsidies on the happy seeders and straw reapers, but farmers allege that announcements remain only on paper. There are no straw reapers even in nearby villages and we cannot wait as fields need to be prepared for the next crop cycle, farmers say.

Following pressure from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Haryana government has directed district administrations to issue strict warnings to farmers regarding stubble burning and also imposed Section 144 to ensure implementation of the ban. WhatsApp numbers have also been provided to ease the process of filing complaints so that immediate action could be taken against erring farmers.

Karnal district administration has booked 18 farmers under Section 188 of the IPC and a fine of Rs 2,500 per acre has also been imposed on them. Though the state government also announced an incentive of Rs 50,000 to a village panchayat for not burning the waste and some district authorities also deciding to take action against the village sarpanch if any case of stubble burning reported in his village, but farmers say nothing will help till the government provides them with an alternative.

As per officials in the pollution control board ill-effects of these fires are not limited to Haryana as the smoke reaches Delhi because of winds, causing major health problems. Smoke from stubble burning was a major contributor to Delhi’s winter air-pollution.

First Published: Oct 09, 2017 14:55 IST