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Punjab farmers to approach NGT

Pankaj Dhiman | Chandigarh |

After finding no solution by the state government to resolve the issue on stubble burning, the aggrieved farmers of Punjab have decided to approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking revival of its decision restricting them from stubble burning.

The farmer leaders have said that they will move to Delhi to appeal against NGT order during the hearing of the case on 4 October. “We are not satisfied with the promises being made by the state government until anything comes out realistic. We will move to NGT to appeal against the order on restricting the stubble burning. The farmers neither getting any financial assistance from the government nor the mechanical help. The case would come up for hearing on Wednesday and we will present our case,” president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Balbir Singh Rajjewal, told The Statesman.

He further said that the government is dilly-dallying the debt waiver issue. A memorandum signed by 1.25 lakh farmers’ has already been presented to the government.

Similarly, president of Bharti Kissan Union (Ekta) Sidupur, Jagjeet Singh Dallewal, said that the farmers have no other option than burning the crop residues. He said that the NGT orders restricting the farmers from stubble burning were not feasible till the government would not implement NGT directions to provide financial assistance to set up machinery to avoid stubble burning.

“A cost of Rs 8,000 per acre is needed to maintain the land. Due to this, only the farmers are forced to face the consequences. We will not take back step till the government does not make practical arrangements. The poor farmers are not capable to set up huge machinery required to deal with crop residues,” he said.

The general secretary of Bharti Kissan Union (Ekta) Sidupur, Bogh Singh Mansa said that farmers need a reversible plough which costs Rs 1.9 lakh to deal with crop residues. “To run this plough we need a tractor of not less than 65 break horsepower. How many farmers can afford this cost? Even if it is ploughed, this will surely create a problem of fungus and mite for the next crop and the farmers will have to again bear the extra cost of sprays to check fungus and mite,” he said.

In a letter written to the NGT, the farmers have sought the supply of machinery free of cost, which is required to stop stubble burning. The farmers have also sought direction to be issued to the Punjab government to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 per acre till the machinery is not provided to them. Adding to this, they have sought a bonus of Rs 300 per acre on paddy procurement.