Govt in a fix over action in farm fire cases : The Tribune India

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Govt in a fix over action in farm fire cases

Govt in a fix over action in farm fire cases

Picture for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, February 16

The Punjab Government finds itself in a fix over taking coercive action against thousands of paddy growers who resorted to stubble burning last year. A report detailing action taken by the government against erring farmers is to be filed in the Supreme Court on February 27.

36K incidents last yr

  • 36,663 incidents of stubble burning reported during the 2023 paddy season
  • Rs 2.57-crore environmental costs imposed in 10K cases
  • Out of this, Rs 1.88 cr has been realised so far

Factors at play

  • Unrest among farmers against the Centre and the ongoing protests at Shambhu and Khanauri and other places
  • With the Lok Sabha poll round the corner and the government having taken a pro-farmer stand, those in the corridors of power are trying to find a way out

Considering the ongoing unrest among farmers against the Centre and the protests at Shambhu and Khanauri by the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) since February 13, and by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha today, the state government is reluctant to take any action against the errant farmers. With elections to the Lok Sabha expected to be announced any time now and the pro-farmer political stand taken by the government, the top echelons in the corridors of power are trying to find a way out.

Two meetings have been held by top functionaries of the government over the past two weeks and the issue has also been reportedly discussed with CM Bhagwant Mann. There were reportedly 36,663 incidents of stubble burning during the 2023 paddy season. Environmental compensation of Rs 2,57,90,000 was imposed in 10,008 cases. Of this, Rs 1,88,60,500 has been realised. Only 1,144 FIRs have been registered under Section 188 of the CPC, while 44 prosecution cases have been lodged under Section 39 of the Air (Prevention and Control) of Pollution Act.

The state government was also asked to make red entries in the land records of the errant farmers by the Supreme Court of India. However, the government has made red entries in only 2,437 cases.

During the last hearing of the case in the apex court on December 13, the state government was asked by the SC to step up action on stubble burning and submit report on February 27. Official sources in the state government have told The Tribune that they are now going to file an affidavit detailing the corrective steps that can be taken to avert air pollution and stubble burning-induced smog during this year.

“We will explain the action that has already been taken against some farmers, while placing on record the action plan to stop stubble burning next year. The action plan includes popularising the use of surface seeders; replacing PUSA 124 variety of paddy with short-duration and low stubble producing PR 126 variety; setting up of CBG and pelletisation plants and industrial boilers that use stubble as fuel; using stubble as dairy fodder; besides seeking financial aid from the Centre to incentivise farmers for not burning stubble,” said a top official in the state government.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Stubble Burning


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