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Punjab farmers upset over Supreme Court remarks on paddy MSP

STUBBLE BURNING Experts claim growers being punished for pollution in national Capital

Punjab farmers upset over Supreme Court remarks on paddy MSP

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, November 21

The suggestion made by the Supreme Court of India for the exclusion of farmers from the purview of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) infrastructure, if they indulged in burning of crop residue, has created a furore in Punjab.

With the state’s agrarian economy totally dependent on the MSP offered by the Centre for mainly wheat and paddy, the suggestion has drawn the ire of economists and farm leaders, who claim that they are being “demonised and punished for the pollution in Delhi”.

Only 15% pollution by farm fires

Various studies have shown that only 15 per cent of pollution in Delhi can be attributed to farm fires in Punjab and Haryana, but no one is talking of the vehicular and industrial pollution in the national Capital and little efforts are made to rein this in. Dr Darshan Pal, SKM leader

Dr Darshan Pal, senior leader of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, said various studies, including one by IIT, have shown that only 15 per cent of pollution in Delhi can be attributed to farm fires in Punjab and Haryana, but no one is talking of the vehicular and industrial pollution in the national capital and little efforts are made to rein this in.

“But the farmer is being turned into a villain here. If the MSP is restricted, it will threaten the country’s food security. We will never allow it,” he declared, asking the Centre on why they have repeatedly refused to give monetary incentive to farmers who do not burn stubble.

Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala, general secretary of the Kirti Kisan Union, said the observation by the apex court was rather short-sighted. “No one is keen to understand the problems of stubble management on the ground. First, the stubble management machinery was bought only on the paper. Second, there is no attempt towards crop diversification and third, the industry using the stubble refuses to accept small bales prepared using small balers that farmers have. They want only big bales, but no farmer can afford those big balers that cost up to Rs 2 crore. These issues need the intervention of policy makers and courts, rather than punishing farmers by threatening to take away the benefit of MSP,” he rued.

Kulwinder Singh, a farmer from Nadampur village, Sangrur, said the farmers do not want to burn stubble. But the short time span between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat leaves them with little option.

“The government should promote the long duration paddy varieties and late sown wheat varieties, besides strengthening the in situ and ex situ stubble management practices,” he said.

Eminent agro economist Dr MS Sidhu said the depriving MSP to wheat and paddy growers would be detrimental to the interest of the country. “Wheat and paddy are our staple foods. At a time, when prices of all food items, including fruits and pulses, are skyrocketing, at least prices of these grains are kept under control because of government procurement at the MSP. This cannot be denied to farmers,” he said.

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.

#Agriculture #Environment #Farm Fires #Minimum Support Price MSP #Pollution #Stubble Burning #Supreme Court


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