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Red mark on land records of farmers repeatedly burning stubble in Punjab

State government employees who own agriculture land would also get a red mark in their Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs), in case stubble is burnt in the land that they own.

punjab Updated: Oct 11, 2018 09:21 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab,stubble burning,Punjab farmers
In this harvest season, 336 cases of farm waste burning have been reported. Amritsar tops the list with 122 cases.(HT File )

Punjab farmers resorting to burning of paddy stubble this year will get a red mark in their land record — the Khasra girdwari of the property, available with the state revenue department. The action has been taken as the government has no record of farmers who have been burning farm waste over the past years.

“We are motivating farmers, giving machines on subsidy and giving all kinds of help to avoid burning of farm waste. But if a farmer is a persistent offender, we have to act. We will decide later on what form the penal action (on habitual offenders) will assume. For now, we have started taking on record the details of farmers who resort to burning farm waste,” additional chief secretary (development) Vishavjeet Khanna told HT.

State government employees who own agriculture land would also get a red mark in their Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs), in case stubble is burnt in the land that they own.

Top officials said initially, the move was meant to pressure farmers, but later, this would be a hurdle for them in getting a loan, its extension and availing of other government benefits. “Though a policy for such a penal action has not been put in place yet, the government has this in mind,” said a state agriculture department officer.

336 cases so far

In this harvest season, 336 cases of farm waste burning have been reported.

Amritsar tops the list with 122 cases, followed by Gurdaspur at 22 and the rest are scattered across the state.

A top functionary in the state agriculture department said all these cases had been sent to the revenue department for taking on record. Data that Punjab has provided to the Centre shows stubble burning cases, post-harvest, had fallen to 43,817 in 2017 from 80,879 in 2016.

“There would a drastic fall in the number of cases this year. The government will soon get the complete database of employees, who own agriculture land, with the help of the ongoing debt-waiver scheme. Eventually, it would impact the career graph of a government employee, if waste burning is repeated in the land that he/she owns. The decision would also be applicable in case of a farmer who leases his land,” Khanna added.

This year, with the intervention of the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had sanctioned ₹665 crore for Punjab, to give machinery to farmers on subsidy for stubble management. In the first year, the sanctioned funds are intended to cover machinery requirement of 40% of the area (74 lakh hectare) under paddy cultivation. The rest of the area is to be covered next year.

Harmeet Singh, a member of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Qadian), was critical of the government. “A farmer does not want to create health or climatic hazard, but he has no option,” he said.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 09:17 IST