Punjab: Farm fires may burn bright this year too, unions blame poor government initiative | Amritsar News

BATHINDA: With the AAP government in Punjab going back on its promise of paying money to farmers for managing crop residue, and most small and marginal agriculturists in the state not having access to crop residue machinery (CRM), farm unions in the state have said most growers might fall back on burning crop residue once paddy is harvested ahead of this winter.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state has been announcing that it would go all out to curb field fires this time. The party’s government in Delhi has, in the past, blamed stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana for air pollution in the national capital. This time, however, the party is in power in both Punjab and Delhi.
Even farmers with access to CRM machinery are not using them due to the high cost of diesel. Farm unions claimed that they wanted state and central governments to come to the aid of farmers in managing residue by preparing bales with their own resources and transporting them out of the fields in shortest possible time of 15 days or the farmers would be left with no option but to burn the stubble.
Some farm unions said the AAP government in Punjab was challenging them by openly making claims that it would launch a war on stubble burning. Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said the claims of waging a war were “highly irresponsible”. “The government wants to wage a war against us, but we have no option but to burn paddy stubble. Crop residue increases only 7% pollution, and that too for a small time. We are held guilty, but why those who spread 91% pollution, including industry, transportation and constructions, are not dealt with? Why does the government not wage a war against them?” he said.
Farm unions said the government’s previously proposed compensation of Rs 2,500 per acre was meagre and the amount should have been at least Rs 5,000 per acre. “The state government has also withdrawn the proposal of giving Rs 2,500 per acre to farmers for stubble management,” said Jangveer Singh of Doaba Kisan Committee Punjab at a press meet in Jalandhar on Tuesday.
BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said they had even demanded Rs 6,000 per acre. “We won’t stop farmers from burning stubble,” he added.

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