The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday asked the Congress government to immediately disburse Rs 3,000 per acre to incentivise farmers willing to bring in positive change by managing paddy straw even as it announced it would stand with farmers and not allow the government to register cases against them.

In a statement here, SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said it was shocking that instead of offering money to farmers to manage paddy straw or engaging machines to deal with it free of cost, the Congress government had shifted this responsibility to farmers and was now intimidating them with threats of cases and jail terms.

Urging farmers to unite to counter these repressive tactics, Majithia said the Akali rank and file would stand with them and protest any move to penalize farmers. He also urged party workers to rush to the spot to show solidarity with farmers on receiving any information of prosecution of farmers.

Blaming the Congress government squarely for failing to take steps to avoid burning of paddy stubble in the state, the Akali leader said the government had a full year to tackle the issue but aggravated it instead of trying to resolve it.

“The government first delayed paddy transplantation by ten days through a dictatorial order which has reduced the cropping window for sowing of the wheat crop and gives very little time to farmers to manage paddy straw,” Majithia said. “The government placed orders for 14,000 machines like happy seeder and super straw management systems but only around 500 machines have been received on subsidized rates,” he added.

Asking the Congress government how it could victimise farmers when it had been given Rs 665 crore by the Centre to generate awareness on stubble burning and boosting use of subsidised machinery which it did not put to good use, Majithia said the only option left for the state was to compensate farmers for the cost incurred by them in managing paddy straw.