Contrary to its claim to take over 30 incentivised farmers before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Punjab government could only present 12 of them on Friday.
The NGT has asked the Punjab government to come up with a list of biomass based power plants in the state. Giving a sigh of relief to the farmers, the NGT has asked the government to provide subsidised machines to them.
NGT has issued notice to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) asking it to give a reason for not lifting the agricultural residues.
NGT has also directed the government to explore the opportunities to involve firms having Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Adding to it, the NGT has asked the Union ministry of Agriculture to investigate the use of funds of Rs 48 Crore which were released for Agriculture related works.
The bench has asked the states to investigate about the damage and benefits of mixing agriculture waste in agriculture field.
“The farmers who were presented before the NGT admitted that the government was helping them but the efforts were insufficient. The government could take along just 12 farmers against NGT’s orders to come up with 21 farmers. Along with environment protection our major concern is to protect the interests of farmers,” petitioner in the case, Vikrant Tongad, told The Statesman.
The NGT had on Wednesday directed the state government to bring before it the 21 farmers it had said had been helped through incentives and infrastructural facilities to prevent them from burning paddy residue in a bid to check air pollution.
The Department of Agriculture updated the NGT bench about the action taken so far to manage paddy straw in Kallar-Majri village, Nabha (Patiala).
A detailed list of activities, which include installation of machines to farmers in the village was also placed before the court. “We could bring 12 farmers along with us as others could not join us due to their personal issues.
The NGT has now called us, when we will come up with further details on the issue. We have also informed the bench that an equipment was already operational across 67 acres of land to help the farmers,” Punjab Joint Director Agriculture, Manmohan Singh Kalia said.
He said that the department is also taking steps in six other villages of Patiala district to facilitate residue management. Earlier, the state government had alleged that the politically motivated farmer outfits were trying to pressurise the beneficiary farmers from coming out in support of the government on the issue.