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No farmer penalised despite 2,678 stubble burning cases in Majha

Amritsar tops the chart with 1,019 cases followed by 875 in Tarn Taran, could not monitor farm fires due to polls, say officials

india Updated: Jun 02, 2019 14:02 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Chandigarh
Stubble burning,Stubble burning in Majha,Stubble burning in Amritsar
As per the officials of the department, no farmer has been penalised or booked by the police this year as the officials were busy in election duties.(HT File Photo)

As many as 2,678 cases of stubble burning have been reported till Friday from Majha region, but not a single farmer has been penalised by the agriculture department yet.

As per the agriculture department, Amritsar tops the chart among the four border districts of Majha region with 1,019 cases of stubble burning. Tarn Taran is on second number with 875 cases. Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts recorded 673 and 111 cases .

These cases , however, till May 31 were almost the same as last year. The agriculture department had recorded 2,743 cases of stubble burning in Majha last year till May 31. As per the officials of the department, no farmer has been penalised or booked by the police this year as the officials were busy in election duties. However, last year, hundreds of farmers were penalised and several booked in the region.

“We have deployed coordinator officers in every village and cluster officers for a cluster of eight villages. As these staff were busy with the election duties, they could not monitor stubble burning incidents in the region. We have called a meeting of these officials on Monday and action will be taken against the erring farmers after the meeting,” said Tarn Taran chief agriculture officer (CEO) Harwinderjit Singh.

Amritsar CEO Vinay Kumar has the same story to narrate . The CEO of Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts, Amrik Singh, said ‘we are yet to impose fine on the erring farmers’.

Also read: Why stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab has intensified in last 10 years

A senior agriculture official said, “The government is not serious about the issue. Due to lack of will of political leaders, the farmers are setting their fields on fire without fear. This is causing severe damage to the environment and people. It is up to them to direct the department to take action against those violating the orders.”

“We have been organising back to back awareness camps in every village to make farmers aware about damages caused by stubble burning. Last year, we gave 600 machines to the farmers of Tarn Taran on subsidised rate,” said the Tarn Taran CEO.

Farmers of the region, however, continue to resort to stubble burning alleging no suitable alternative. They are of the view that until the state government provides them alternative solution to manage stubble, they are not left with much choice. “Farmers continue to burn stubble as they rely on wheat and paddy rotation. It is on the government to break the rotation and do something for diversification. The government should give a guarantee to the farmers for purchasing diversified crops. This will encourage farmers to adopt diversification,” said Kisan Sangarsh Committee (KSC) state convener Kawalpreet Singh Pannu.

He said, “The government should also give a minimum of Rs 6,000 per acre compensation to farmers for managing stubble. If the government fails to implement the suggestions, the farmers will be forced to set their fields on fire in future too.”

Also read | Stubble burning cost $150 billion in 5 years: Study

First Published: Jun 02, 2019 14:02 IST