3-day protest by farmers begins outside DC office

Demand cancellation of FIRs against them for stubble burning

3-day protest by farmers begins outside DC office

Farmers protest outside the District Administrative Complex in Bathinda on Monday. Pawan Sharma

Tribune News Service

Bathinda/ Muktsar, January 20

Demanding the cancellation of FIRs registered against farmers for burning paddy straw, members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) Ugrahan started their three-day protest outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Monday.

District president of the union Shingara Singh Mann is leading the protest. Besides, other farmer leaders Mothu Singh Kotra, Harjinder Singh Baggi and Jasveer Singh Soma are also taking part in the protest.

Addressing the protesters, Mann said, “Instead of providing an alternative solution to stubble burning, the state government had registered cases against farmers citing National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) decision. But, it had announced its decision in favour of farmers.”

Farmer leaders said if the state government was serious about burning of paddy stubble, it should have given Rs200 per quintal as bonus to the farmers. They added that a farmer sets stubble on fire because he does not have money to afford high-tech equipment used to manage paddy residue. Farmers are committing suicides due to debt and how can they afford equipment to manage stubble, they said.

The protesters said they were demanding withdrawal of cases registered against farmers and the fine imposed on them for defying the ban on burning stubble. Besides, they also want their combine harvesters, which have been impounded for not having supers straw management system.

“We are against the burning of paddy stubble, but what farmers can do if the government does not support them at the grassroots level. The government should purchase stubble as it is used for producing power and in manure,” the farmer leaders said.

Mann said, “We are already facing a lot of difficulties in dealing with the stray cattle menace. Now, farmers have unnecessarily been booked for stubble burning. Factories are the main reason behind pollution, but action is being taken only against the farmers. If the state government is concerned about stubble burning, why does not it provide any solution to it?”

Traffic was affected on the GT Road due to the protest.

Meanwhile, members of the farmers’ union started their three-day protest outside the District Administrative Complex (DAC) in Muktsar on Monday. They said the state government failed to prove relief money of Rs2,500 per acre to those farmers who did not burn stubble in this harvesting season.

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