AAP supports farmers and BKU on the issue of paddy straw burning: Khaira

October 08, 2017 09:30 PM

Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH:  Sukhpal Singh Khaira Leader of Opposition today warned the government for registering cases against farmers for burning the paddy straw. He said the government should not harass the farmers until it makes alternative arrangements for consumption of paddy straw into the soil as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Khaira in a statement released here claimed that the NGT while issuing directions to stop burning the paddy straw for cleaner environment had ordered the state governments to provide equipment to the farmers for its consumption in the soil. Khaira said that instead of providing equipment and machinery to the farmers on rental basis, the Punjab government is penalising the farmers by registering cases against them.

Khaira further stated that if the farmers were to plough the paddy straw in their fields, it would cost them approximately 4000-5000 rupees per acre, as it requires 2-3 operations with appropriate equipment and a heavy tractor to consume it in the sub soil. Khaira said in other words, every farmer would have to invest a minimum of rupees 10 lacs to arrange equipment machinery and tractor for this purpose.  Khaira stated that it is highly impossible for small and the marginal farmers to dish out such a huge amount at a juncture when they are under a colossal debt of rupees 1 lac crore and committing suicides in large numbers.

Khaira clarified that the Punjab government has failed to arrange for the equipment and machinery required for ploughing the paddy straw in the fields at the district and block level, as per the directions of NGT which have been hanging fire from last 3-4 years. Khaira said I have learnt that the Punjab Pollution Control Board has registered more than 100 cases against the farmers violating the directions of NGT, merely to hide its failure. Khaira said that the Chief Minister is himself on record urging the government of India to provide the farmers a bonus of rupees 100 per quintal over and above the MSP of paddy so that the farmers can consume the straw in their fields. Khaira said the statement of the Chief Minister demanding bonus is equivalent to the demand of various BKU organisations seeking a subsidy of rupees 5,000 per acre in case they have to stop burning the straw.

Khaira said therefore he is of the firm opinion that unless the government either offers rupees 5,000 per acre to the farmers or provides the necessary equipment for consuming the paddy straws in the fields, it would be highly impossible for the farmers to stop burning the paddy straw. Hence said Mr. Khaira that farmers are left with no choice but to burn their paddy straw and prepare for the ensuing wheat season. Khaira said under these circumstances AAP supports the farmers and the BKU organisations for their defiance of NGT orders and warns the government not to penalise and register cases against them.  

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