Six villages in Punjab’s Faridkot shun stubble burning, courtesy this man

Of 12,00 farmers here, around 930 did not burn stubble after Nirmal Singh suggested alternatives.

punjab Updated: Nov 16, 2017 11:30 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
shun stubble burning,stubble burning,Punjab
Patwari Nirmal Singh

At a time when the state continues to battle smog due to paddy stubble burning, leading to deaths in road mishaps, a patwari in Faridkot made sure he did his bit. Nirmal Singh, managed to ensure that 1,000 farmers in six villages in the district, were provided alternatives to stubble burning. His efforts have won him recognition.

Faridkot divisional commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar told HT, “Nirmal has done exemplary work. We will soon felicitate him. At meetings with district revenue officials, I often ask them to adopt the Nirmal Singh model of dealing with paddy stubble.”

“At meetings with district revenue officials, I often ask them to adopt the Nirmal Singh model of dealing with paddy stubble.” — Faridkot divisional commissioner

What is his method

Nirmal, who joined government service in 1992, says he got farmers to adopt solutions in each of the six villages — Mandwala, Kot Sukhian, Dhoolkot, Sirsari, Nangal and Chameli — where crop is sown on 10,000 acres. Most of the land goes to paddy cultivation. Of 12,00 farmers here, around 930 did not burn stubble after he suggested alternatives, he claims. In Mandwala village, 15km from Faridkot, on the Bathinda-Amritsar highway, he suggested that the paddy residue be put in pits dug up in the soil. For Dhoolkot village, he suggested the same.

Dhoolkot sarpanch Gurcharan Singh said, “After collection and storing in an appropriate manner the stubble was used for feeding cows and buffaloes.”

Inderjit Singh, member panchayat of Sirsari, said, “A large number of farmers did not burn stubble.” Some farmers even claimed that they did not want to burn stubble, but leaders of certain Kisan Unions forced them to do so, on the pretext that it was matter of staying united.

Nirmal says, “It helped that in my official work, I have always tried to save farmers from exploitation. So, they trusted me.” He added, “When I was encouraging people not to burn stubble, I received threats from Kisan Unions. They told me they will not allow me to enter villages if I stopped farmers from burning stubble. However, the majority of farmers supported me.”

Nirmal has always been a dedicated public servant. In 2008, Baba Farid Society, Faridkot, honoured him with its honesty award. This is award that was bestowed to Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu this year.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 11:28 IST