Punjab farmers worried over field fires, hope for compensation
At least six cases of ready-to-harvest wheat gutted in several districts in Punjab over the past week.punjab Updated: Apr 23, 2018 10:51 IST
With at least six cases of ready-to-harvest wheat crop gutted in several districts over the past week, farmers are seeking compensation for the loss. Farmers claim that in most cases, the cause of the fire is short-circuiting of overhead high-tension electricity wires that criss-cross their fields.
On Saturday, 7-acre wheat and 50 acre stubble was gutted in Tappa Khera village in Muktsar. The loss has been substantial with each acre yielding 22-24 quintal of the crop. At a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 1,735 per quintal, the estimated loss is Rs 38,000 per acre. Farmers also lose out on the wheat stubble, from which they prepare straw used for cattle. Supply of straw for the whole year is prepared during this time.
“I was planning to harvest my crop, but fire due to overhead wires has ruined us. Now, only ashes are left,” said a farmer Tota Singh.
“My son wants to study in a university and is preparing for the entrance exam. How will I pay his fee when my entire crop has been gutted?,” said another farmer.
Gurbhagat Singh, president Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Muktsar said, “ Farmers are already under heavy debt. The government must pay suitable compensation to the farmers.”
‘Compensation is paid as per rules’
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) superintending engineer Inderjit Singh said, “We make farmers aware of measures to protect their crop. We cut electricity supply during the day toprevent any chance of electricity-related fire accidents.”
“Farmers should not leave any fire source unattended besides checking battery wires of tractors and combines,” he added. “If fire breaks out due to our negligence, compensation is paid to farmers as per rules,” added Inderjit.