Farmers in Punjab, Haryana fume over police cases for stubble burning


Members of various farmers’ organisation stage a protest against the Punjab government over the stubble burning issue, in Patiala on November 20, 2023
| Photo Credit: ANI

Annoyed over the registration of police cases against farmers for burning paddy stubble, farmer outfits held demonstrations in Punjab and Haryana on Monday, demanding the withdrawal of cases.

Farmers associated with as many as 18 farmer-labour outfits and members of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM non-political) staged demonstrations at several places and submitted memorandums to deputy commissioners in support of their demands.

“We held demonstrations in Punjab and Haryana to express our anguish. Our key demand includes the immediate withdrawal of police cases registered against farmers for burning the stubble, among others,” said Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Punjab unit of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee, one of the participants’ unions.

“The government is trying to portray farmers as opponents of the environment, which is not true. We don’t support stubble burning, but governments should come out with a long-term solution. Instead of taking stringent action against farmers for stubble burning, the government should provide us with viable and reliable options to manage crop residue or financially compensate us. The successive governments have failed to find a solution for the problem, and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party government has also failed to address the problem,” he said.

Legal action initiated

Following the directions of the Supreme Court to ensure a full stop to stubble burning, legal action is being initiated against those found burning stubble in Punjab. According to Special Director General of Police Law and Order Arpit Shukla, from November 8 till November 20, police teams have registered 1,084 first information reports (FIRs), while, penalties totalling ₹1.87 crores were imposed in 7,990 cases. Also, red entries have been made in the revenue records of 340 farmers during this span.

While the harvesting of paddy, the key kharif (summer) season crop is at its fag end, the stubble burning continues in Punjab, which crossed the 35,000 mark on Monday. According to the Punjab Pollution Control Board data collected through satellite imagery, the State recorded 35,093 stubble-burning incidents from September 15 to November 20. Sangrur, the home district of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann recorded the highest number of farm fires at 5,546 followed by Firozpur [3,264] and Bathinda [2,863].

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