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Farmers up in arms against pollution law, fines

Organisations in Punjab, Haryana slam Centre’s move to impose penalties against violation of norms to improve Delhi-NCR’s air quality

Published: 31st October 2020 08:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st October 2020 08:54 AM   |  A+A-

stubble burning

A farmer burns paddy stubble at a farm on the outskirts of Amritsar Sunday. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Amid a confrontation with the Centre over three farm laws, another showdown is looming between the farmers and the Centre. Farmers’ organisations in Punjab and Haryana have slammed the move to impose fine against violation of pollution norms, a measure to monitor air quality in the National Capital Region.

Terming the decision as an attempt to finish the farmers of the country, Balbir Singh Rajewal, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal Group) said on Friday that the Union government has not compensated the farmers to manage stubble burning as mandated by the Supreme Court. “First they gave us the three agriculture laws and now the new ordinance has been enacted to arm-twist the farmers,” he said.

“A small farmer is unable to arrange Rs 5,000 per acre to manage paddy stubble. The fact is we have no way to manage the 160 lakh ton of stubble. So, the Central step is totally illogical,’’ said Rajewal. Dr Darshan Pal, coordinator of all the 30 farmer unions of Punjab, shared the same views.

“First, they should fix the MSP on all crops, so that we have enough money to invest in stubble burning techniques.” Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said even if a farmer sells his entire land, he would not be able to get the penalty amount.

“The Centre has made up its mind to finish the farmers and wants corporates to usurp their land.’’Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)president Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “We oppose the new provision for setting up a commission and making such stringent (air pollution) laws. People on the ground have not been consulted before making such decisions.’’



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