Chandigarh, October 12, 2017: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the Congress government to immediately stop victimizing farmers who were burning paddy stubble in despair and instead incentivize them by offering them a minimum compensation of Rs 4,000 per acre to stop this practice.
In a statement here, former minister and SAD general secretary Bikram Singh Majithia said it was shocking that the Congress government was penalizing farmers and initiating cases against them for burning paddy stubble instead of offering compensation to them besides implementing solutions to tackle this problem. “It is condemnable that the government has approached farmers with warnings and even threatened to withdraw subsides given to them in case they burn their stubble this season. Instead of doing this the government should immediately incentivize straw management by registering farmers who undertake not to burn stubble and give them compensation of Rs 3,500 per acre”.
Stating that the Punjab peasantry was already under stress and had become more so recently due to the Congress government’s failure to implement the promised Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver, Mr Majithia said at this juncture the government needed to seek the cooperation of farmers rather than entering into a confrontation with them. “More than 250 farmers have committed suicide in the last six months. They cannot manage the crop residue on their own under any circumstances. The only way forward is to assist them in tackling this problem”.
The Akali leader said instead of doing this the government was indulging in an eye wash through statements as well as passing on the buck to the centre. The Akali leader said the anti-farmer stance of the government could also be seen from the manner in which it had been exposed by the National Green Tribunal. “Lakhs of farmers are burning paddy stubble but the government has told the Tribunal that it has assisted only 21 farmers in managing their paddy straw. This clearly shows that the government does not have any intention to come to the assistance of farmers and tackle this issue with the seriousness it deserves”.
Asserting that no funds were being released to cooperative societies to buy equipment including straw reapers, Mr Majithia said the government should also give needed machinery at subsidized rates to farmers willing to manage paddy straw. He said the government should also encourage establishment of more bio-mass plants to create a market for paddy straw.