Tribune News Service
Bathinda, October 5
Harvinder Pal (50), a marginal farmer with less than two acres of agricultural land at Mehma Sarkari village in Bathinda, had got the direct sowing of wheat done by taking the Super Seeder machine on lease for Rs 2,500 per acre basis from a Talwandi Sabo-based farmer having large landholding last season.
Pal did so in order to avoid getting an FIR registered against him for burning paddy stubble as was done against many farmers in his area who burnt it.
Apart from bearing with increased farm input cost, he had to shell out an extra Rs 5,000 for direct sowing to manage paddy straw but more than the money he spent, his main grouse stems from state government’s apathy in disbursal of compensation for not burning paddy stubble.
It has been more than one year. Like Pal, there are scores of farmers in the Malwa region who did not get compensation of Rs 2,500 per acre basis for not burning paddy stubble to date.
In Khara Barnala village in Mansa district, Raghubir Singh and Labh Singh, along with another eight small and medium scale farmers, had purchased Super Seeder machine and other farm implements on subsidised rates (provided by government) to carry out direct seeding of wheat last year after state government had made announcement that farmers not burning paddy stubble will get Rs 2,500 per acre basis.
Talking to The Tribune, an irate Raghubir Singh said: “We have been lured with a false promise and subsequently ended up being deluded by the state government. They even taken our information and fill out our forms for disbursal of compensation amount but that merely ended-up as paper exercise. With ever increased farm input cost, we did not have enough money to invest in expensive farm implements but we went by the government’s lure and did not mind spending extra even some of us took money on credit for the same.”
Labh Singh said: “Apart from buying expensive farm machines, we also had to bear with the additional expenses of diesel to operate Super Seeder machine. Moreover, insect attack on wheat plants at an early had forced us to carry out sowing all over again. While the government did not even pay compensation of Rs 2,500 per acre, we have to bear with twice as much for carrying out wheat sowing last season.”
Farmers demanded that the government must make provision to provide services of expensive agricultural machines through co-operative societies on subsidised rates to reduce financial burden on small and medium scale farmers.
Shingara Singh Mann, president, BKU Ekta Ugrahan, said: “On one hand, the government does not want farmers to burn paddy stubble as it causes air pollution and on the other, it did not honour its own promise of providing compensation for the same. Let it be made clear to farmers that which way they government wants to go. It does not provide viable solution especially for marginal and medium scale farmers for not burning paddy stubble and then it uses force and register FIRs against them. Even as one year has elapsed, only a handful of farmers received compensation till now.”
“If the government does not have any comprehensive and viable plan, then it can simply start paying a bonus amount of Rs 200 per quintal basis to farmers for managing paddy stubble. We will manage it. Our hands are tied. Why would we want to create pollution that will harm us before anyone else,” Mann added.
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