Haryana farmers defy stubble burning order

| | Chandigarh

Up in arms against the Haryana Government’s decision to impose fine on farmers for burning crop residue, the farmers’ organisations in the State have decided continuing the practice of stubble burning and not paying fine to the Government.

To curb such incidents, the Haryana Government had announced that if a farmer is found guilty of burning crop residue, he would have to pay penalty of Rs 2,500 for two acre, Rs 5,000 for two to five acre and Rs 15,000 for more than five acre, per incident.

Despite the order, the illegal practice has been going on unabated in various parts of Haryana this year. Gurnam Singh Chaduni, Haryana chief of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) told The Pioneer that in absence of required agricultural equipments, the farmers are forced to burn crop residue. He blamed the State Government for not making any alternative arrangements for the farmers.

He said the entire gram panchayat will protest if the Government seeks fine from any farmer. When asked why the farmers are continuing with the practice of stubble burning, he said  there is no alternative except burning of crop residue. “The farmers cannot buy the straw management implements due to their high cost,” he said. The farmers had suggested the Government to buy it for gram panchayats so that farmers can utilise it instead of burning the crop residue, said Singh.

Even if the Government is providing subsidy on such agricultural equipments to farmers, they cost in lakhs of rupees and the farmers can not afford to buy it for one time utilisation, he added. On the issue of stubble burning, Rattan Mann, Haryana president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Mann faction) said imposition of fine on farmers for stubble burning is not the solution to this problem.

The State Government should provide required equipments to the farmers to manage the stubble, he said.

Mann added that the crop stubble is being dumped by the farmers in front of Government offices in protest against the Government’s decision of imposition of fine on farmers.

To keep a check on incidents of stubble burning this year, the Haryana Government has announced that sarpanches of gram panchayats would be held responsible for such incidents in their jurisdiction. The Government has also started satellite monitoring from September 22.

Besides, sub divisional officers (SDOs), patwaris and Gram Sachivs would be made answerable in their respective areas for burning of crop residue. And, strict action would be initiated against SDOs, Patwaris and Gram Sachivs who fail to report cases of burning crop stubble in their respective areas, said Principal Secretary, Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Department Abhilaksh Likhi.

In Haryana, crop stubble burning in both Rabi and Kharif seasons has emerged as a menace in this region, causing severe environmental problems. After witnessing severe levels of air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to stubble burning in November last year, Haryana Government had also  proposed to set up six paddy straw based power projects in the State. The thick smog hanging over northern parts of the country due to burning of crop residue had also caused road fatalities due to poor visibility in November last year.



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