Tribune News Service
Patiala, November 13
Stubble burning continues in the state despite the Supreme Court’s directions to the state government to curb the menace and provide Rs 100-per quintal relief to small farmers for not burning the crop residue. Apparently, the relief offered to small farmers has generated a lukewarm response considering the rising number of stubble burning cases.
The Punjab Remote Sensing Centre in Ludhiana has recorded 48,689 active fire events this year till now, which has already surpassed 44,845 incidents recorded on the same day last year. As many as 6,013 incidents have been recorded within a week after the apex court directed the state government to pay the relief amount on November 6. This includes over 1,300 incidents recorded in Bathinda alone. Only five incidents were recorded on Wednesday, owing to a dense cloud cover.
The Agriculture Department has started uploading the final lists and forms for the release of compensation amounts to farmers. Agriculture Secretary Kahan Singh Pannu said, “Those farmers who haven’t burnt the paddy residue and have applied for compensation are being provided the relief. We are giving Rs 2,500 per acre to them. By tomorrow, forms of over 4,000 to 5,000 farmers will be uploaded and compensation amount will be transferred to their bank accounts.”
However, according to Darshan Pal of Krantikari Kisan Union, the relief offered is insufficient. “A small farmer is not able to manage the crop residue if such a small amount of Rs 100 per quintal is offered in lieu of burning. We have been demanding a relief of Rs 200 per quintal. Moreover, the state government is yet to provide the relief amount. The farmers do not know how and when the relief amount will be provided to them.”
A farmer who works as a commission agent said, “The relief offered is adequate. We generate about 30 quintal from one acre of land, while the expenditure on the management of paddy straw amounts to a maximum of Rs 1,500 to 2,000 per acre. Some farmer unions are in competition to get more relief amount released from the state government.”
Unions to protest on Nov 27
Farmer unions, under the banner of All-India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee, have decided to hold a statewide protest over the issue of management of crop residue. Darshan Pal of Krantikari Kisan Union said, “We held a meeting in Moga on Wednesday and decided to hold a statewide protest on November 27 over a number of issues such as management of straw and registration of cases. The issue of low prices of basmati and sugarcane will also be taken up.”
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