PATNA: The Bihar agriculture department stopped government benefits being enjoyed by 59 farmers for burning stubble in their fields. In October, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had warned that farmers caught burning stubble after the harvest season would be deprived of financial assistance and subsidy available under the state government-run schemes. Some of the subsidies given by the state to farmers include electricity at 75 paise per unit and a subsidy of Rs 60 per litre on purchase of diesel.
Now, as per official sources, as many as 59 farmers — all from Patna division — were identified before being struck off the list of government beneficiaries for the next three years. These farmers, the sources said, were found burning stubble despite a government ban on the age-old practice. Agriculture minister Prem Kumar said that the government has already launched a massive drive to educate and inform farmers about the perils of stubble burning. “Ashes of stubble burnt in the fields kill the fertility of land badly and bring down the yield to such an extent that it turns barren,” he said.
The police in Sasaram and Aurangabad districts have also lodged cases against six farmers for burning stubble in the fields. Kumar said that 75 to 80% subsidies were being given on the purchase of agro tools, which are used in disposing stubble of crops. Patna divisional commissioner Sanjay Kumar Agarwal had already issued directives to all DMs under Patna division to identify farmers who were continuing the practise of stubble burning despite the ban on it.