The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab on Thursday demanded immediate withdrawal of cases registered against the farmers in the state for the burning of crop residue.

In a joint statement,  state Kisan wing chief, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Meet Hayer and Rupinder Kaur Ruby (All MLAs), said that cases against thousands of farmers had been registered on the charge of burning paddy straw, saying that it was a dictatorial and one-sided order even as the state and central governments were equally responsible for the sorry state of affairs.

Sandhwan said that neither the AAP nor the farmers were in favour of burning paddy straw, but they were resorting to doing it under duress and that the lack of government’s seriousness to tackle the issue by holding their hands.

He said the anti-farmer policies of the government had led to such an alarming  situation, stating that were the government alive to the seriousness of the farmers’ concerns and offered remunerative prices of their produce, the situation would not have come to such a pass where a farmer was not able to bear the cost of Rs Six thousand to Rs Seven thousand per acre to dispose of the paddy dust.

Meet Hayer on the occasion said that the state government, which had virtually run away from implementing the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, could not announce a paltry bonus of Rs 200 per quintal for disposing of the farm residue.

“Were only the farmers, who are already forced to commit suicides due to heavy farm loans on their heads, responsible to take care of the environment and ecology?”, he questioned.

The AAP leaders said the government had started a concerted campaign to register cases against the farmers for burning paddy straw, throwing the directives of the Supreme Court of India and National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the winds.

Ruby said that certain reports had poured in from various parts of the state where the farmers had, instead of burning the stubble, buried it in their fields by investing in the purchase of modern machines and equipment, adding that a deadly fungus had appeared there, damaging their fertile land. She demanded that the state government take a serious note of the same and depute teams of experts to identify such spots and rush necessary medical aid and other facilities to tackle the issue.