Claiming that the cost of processing paddy stubble was unaffordable for a farmer and both the state and the Central government had failed to provide a suitable alternative to its burning, a section of farmers in the district have said they will continue to burn the residual waste of the crop.
A meeting of farmers was held at Sukhanwala village in Faridkot on Monday, where Jagjit Singh Dallewala, state president, Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta (Sidhupur), said, “The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a ban, yet the governments (both the Centre and the state) have left us with no option as cost is an issue and they are not giving any help.”Around 500 farmers attended the meeting.
‘Challenge govt to register cases’
Dallewala added, “Farm unions will ensure that the government cannot register any cases against farmers for burning stubble. Farmers will not open fine.” Bohar Singh, district president of BKU (Sidhupur), said, “Over 25,000 farmers in the district are our members. We also want the government to ensure that farmers are not burdened with 6% market fee that is now costing us Rs 100 per quintal. Farmers are being burdened.”
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‘Farmers cannot bear cost’
Elaborating on his claim on the cost of treating the stubble was too high and was being passed on to farmers, Dallewala said, “The government has asked farmers to mix stubble in the soil. This costs Rs 8,000 per acre. This is another unnecessary burden on farmers.”
He also claimed that this process of stubble mixing needed time and was likely to delay sowing of the rabi crop. He added that stubble contained a lot fungus and according to a Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) study, fungus was dangerous and harmed a soil’s fertility. “The farmers are confused. Will PAU clear its stand on fungus?,” he said. He went on to claim that the state government’s advise of using a chopper machine for cutting of paddy was also not cost-effective, as it cost Rs 2,500 per acre against the simple machine’s cost at Rs 800 per acre.