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Smoke and mirrors: Punjab,

Haryana farmers say why they


burn stubble
Rising air pollution in Delhi has once again turned the heat on paddy farmers in
Punjab and Haryana, who burn stubble in their fields around this time to ready it
for the next wheat crop. The Indian Express tells their side of the story

At Kohand village, Karnal, which has the highest stubble burning figures in Haryana, Sonu, 28, sets
his fields on fire (Express Photo/Praveen Khana)

PUNJAB
Paraali, that is what the 50-60 cm stubble left after farmers have used combine harvesters on their
fields of paddy is called here. Simranjeet Singh, 27, understands the noise the paraali has been
making, all the way in Delhi, and all the way up, where NASA satellites are now trailing its spread in
fascinating detail.
In his village of Qadian in Ludhiana, paraali on the entire 600 acres of area under paddy has been set
on fire this year. On his 23-acre farm, Simranjeet is himself supervising labourers involved in the
work.
Coughing, one of them, Golu, says it’s “nothing”. “It is my routine in paddy season every year.”
Simranjeet, who is within earshot, butts in. “Do you think I am an uneducated farmer? That I do not
know how hazardous it is to burn stubble? How much pollution it creates and leads to health troubles?
We know everything. But is there any other option?”
While the Punjab government has ordered farmers in the state to install the Super-Straw Management
System (S-SMS) equipment on their combine harvesters to get around the problem of stubble,
Simranjeet admits he didn’t do so.
Delhiites Seek Permanent Solution To Toxic Smog
Conditions

Dr J S Bains, Director, Agriculture Punjab, says the department sent a proposal of Rs 1,109 crore to
the Central government, demanding that money be released immediately to provide 40 per cent
subsidy to farmers for machinery to manage stubble. “However, we have received only Rs 48.5
crore.”
Of this too, says a source, only Rs 30 crore has been sanctioned by state finance department and yet to
be released by the state treasury, “sanction too has come a few days ago, at the fag end of harvesting
season. It implies the funds were diverted.”
State Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, when asked about delay in releasing the subsidy amount,
said, “We try to release funds sent by the Centre as soon as possible but in the past few months, things
haven’t been easy due to GST and other reasons.”
None of the farmers of Qadian village in Ludhiana district, which sees among the highest number of
cases of stubble-burning in Punjab (2,788 up to November 9), has installed S-SMS equipment on their
combine harvesters. They say that even if they wanted to, they wouldn’t have found a way. The
machinery is largely unavailable due to the limited number of manufacturers, they say. “Most of them
sell at high rates. Affordable ones are very few. Then, it takes a month to get subsidy bills cleared and
by then, wheat-sowing period (for which they need to clear their fields of the stubble) is over. Are we
really left with any option but burning?” says Gagandeep Singh, 49, who owns a 20-acre paddy farm.
A Punjab Agriculture Department source admits, “Many bills are pending. Farmers do not apply
because it takes months to clear the bills before the sum is credited to their accounts. The area under
paddy in Punjab is 30 lakh hectares, but machinery is available to manage just 2 lakh hectares.”
Express Explained | Delhi air pollution: A (crop) burning issue, and the way out
The rentals for the machines, meanwhile, have skyrocketed after the Punjab government announced
that FIRs would be registered against those burning the fields. On October 9, six farmers were booked
at Moonak in Sangrur district for burning paddy straw. Later, the CM announced that no FIRs would
be registered in the state against erring farmers. However, the Punjab Pollution Control Board
(PPCB), under orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) continues to issue challans to farmers.
As on November 9, the PPCB issued 2,351 challans worth Rs 66.27 lakh. However, only Rs 4.88 lakh
has been recovered.
PPCB chairman K S Pannu, while claiming there has been “at least 40% reduction in stubble burning
this year”, says, “It is wrong on Delhi’s part to blame Punjab and stubble burning for its poor air
quality. There are other factors too, such as airlock.”

Labourer Golu burns stubble at Qadian village in Ludhiana. He says it’s “his routine every paddy
season.” (Source: Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

“I paid Rs 1,300 per acre to a firm for renting a baler (to make bales of the stubble). I paid Rs 14,000
in advance. Till date, the baler has not reached my farm. The firm says the machine is not free, it is in
high demand. I do not know if I will even get my money back,” says Jasmeet Singh, 50, who owns a
12-acre farm.
Almost every effort to discourage farmers from stubble-burning usually boils down to cost.
Says Simranjeet, “After the harvester takes out the grains, apart from the thick bunches of plant with
roots deep inside soil, loose stubble that covers the fields also remains. The thick bunches can still be
managed, but even if we attach S-SMS equipment to the combine harvester, it just chops and evenly
spreads the loose stubble. The S-SMS costs Rs 1-1.15 lakh. With a Turbo Happy Seeder (THS), we
can sow wheat seeds even above fields covered with straw, but it is worth Rs 1.25 lakh. This means a
minimum investment of Rs 2.50 lakh.”
Also, the THS requires a tractor with minimum 50 HP, which means additional expenditure on fuel.
Another option is a rotavator, also known as rotary drill, that can compress the stubble. However, says
Jaspreet Singh, 39, this too fails when it comes to loose stubble on his 27 acre. “Plus, one round of
rotavator consumes diesel worth Rs 600-700.”
Mindful of accusations of pollution, farmers say they have taken to “partial burning.” Harmeet Singh,
who owns a 27-acre paddy farm in Qadian, says, “I don’t burn the entire stubble, just the loose
stubble. Major pollution is caused by burning plant roots, not the loose stubble. If farmers adopt this
partial burning technique, there will be lesser pollution.”
Harmeet had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the NGT order on paddy
stubble. In 2015, the tribunal had asked Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to
enforce a ban on stubble-burning and impose fines ranging from Rs 2,500 for violators with less than
two acres, to Rs 15,000 for farmers with over five acres. “The order said farmers should be penalised
if they burn stubble even after being provided machinery and subsidies. While the government has
started penalising them, there is no sign of the machinery or subsidy. So I moved court,” Harmeet
says.
For his part, he says, he also experimented with renting a plougher for Rs 1,200 per acre. A plougher
costs Rs 2.5 lakh and mixes stubble within the soil. However, he said, the trial failed. “It consumed
diesel worth Rs 2,500 per acre. It was better to drop the plan than go bankrupt.”
Farmers say they are even ready to go back to manual harvesting, where cutting is done close to the
ground and hence leaves very little stubble. But the cost of hiring enough labourers to save time, so as
to allow timely wheat-sowing, is prohibitive. Farmers say the government should pay them Rs 4,000
per acre to hire labour. “Since stubble-burning problem has become a national issue, even labour is
now in shortage. We will leave combine harvesters if we are paid for labour. Or simply give us the
money to buy equipment and let it be a one-time investment… It is not that we enjoy burning
stubble,” says Harmeet.
He also points out that experts have not even considered the fact that not all farmers have new
combines to which SMS can be fitted. “Some farmers even need new combines. I personally also tried
vegetable and maize farming, but is there any fixed procurement price for it? So how can we adopt
diversification?”
Incidentally, on the parts of his land where he grows basmati, Harmeet uses labourers already, as the
plant is too delicate for the combine harvester machines.
Farmer Simarjot, in his half burnt field at Qadian, says there is “no other option” (Source: Express
Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Manjeet Singh, head of the Farm Machinery and Power Engineering Department, Punjab Agricultural
University (PAU), insists on their three “tested” options, to check stubble-burning — “Fit combine
harvesters with S-SMS, and then use the Turbo Happy Seeder or spatial drill to directly sow wheat”;
“Use a baler to make bales of stubble”; and “Use a chopper (an equipment which chops stubble
finely) to thresh the loose stubble and then sow wheat with Happy Seeder.”
PAU does not recommend using rotavators or rotary drills. “It leads to improper wheat sowing,” says
Manjeet Singh.
The cost of a baler, though, starts at Rs 2 lakh, going up to Rs 10 lakh, while a chopper comes for Rs
1.50 lakh and a tractor with 50 HP starts at Rs 6-7 lakh.
PAU has also suggested mushroom farming in the stubble, as well as using stubble to produce ethanol
and cardboards, and for power generation. But these options remain still-born.
Apart from contributing to pollution, Manjeet says, stubble-burning also deteriorates soil quality. “If
stubble remains in the fields, it gives various nutrients to the soil. Soil becomes enriched. When
stubble is burnt, nutrients are also burnt.”
Inder Mohan Singh, 48, who owns 26 acres, says most farmers are aware of all this. “Who says we are
not affected by the pollution? We live here. Our homes are in villages near fields from where the
smoke rises. Our children also feel burning in the eyes and cough badly. But tell us a solution before
blaming us for the pollution crisis. Are industries and factories not causing pollution round the year in
Delhi or Ludhiana? So why are we targeted? We do not even burn fields for the whole year.”
Haryana
Agar Haryana ka kisan kheti na kare toh poora Bharat bhookha mar jayega (If Haryana’s farmers
don’t practise agriculture, India will die of hunger),” declares Anil Rathi, lying on a cot in the middle
of his 16-acre field. After a few slow puffs of his beedi, he adds, “Since nobody is ready to buy the
stubble from us, we have to burn it.”
It’s a little after 6 pm and Rathi, a farmer in Teha village in Haryana’s Sonipat district, is watching
over a small group of farmers at work. The district has registered 26 cases of stubble-burning so far.
With 310 cases between September 22 and the past week, Karnal district, 80 km away, has the highest
stubble-burning figures in Haryana. According to state government figures, 211 of the 227 FIRs in the
state have been registered in Karnal district alone.
The Haryana government has also announced a Rs-50,000 incentive for village panchayats to not burn
stubble, while some district authorities, including Karnal’s, have threatened to take action against the
sarpanch if any incident is reported.
Pointing to the undulating furrows in his ploughed field, which now has small green wheat sprouts,
Rathi, 45, says, “Seventy per cent of the field has been sown with wheat. It was done a fortnight ago.
Most of the stubble-burning was done then too. Only a small patch is left to be burnt now.”
In that “small patch,” Rathi’s men are laying out thick pipes for irrigation. They will then cover them
with mud, after which a combine harvester will create trenches and sow wheat. On one side of this
stretch lie three neat mounds of straw. Pradeep (22), Gulshan (25) and Prashant (24) have been given
charge of setting the straw, apart from the remaining stubble, on fire. As the sun sinks further, they get
on with the job.
“There is enough fog now. Satellite mein nahin dihkega (It won’t be caught by satellite trackers),”
smiles Pradeep. He has a B.Tech degree, but, as he says, “There are no jobs for us, we all have to
eventually rely on farming.”
Farmers admit they burn stubble at night or in the early hours of the morning to get around the NGT
order.
In Teha village, as mounds of burning orange begin to light up Rathi’s fields, the group settles down
for tea. “Delhi’s pollution should be blamed on the mountains of garbage on its outskirts, on the
burning of plastic, on the cars on its streets… Kisan ko pradooshan se jodna galat hai (It is wrong to
link farmers to pollution),” says Rathi.
Complaining about the poor revenue that agriculture yields, he says, “We sell rice for Rs 3,259 per
quintal at government mandis. Wheat is sold at Rs 1,550 per quintal. Five bighas (2 acres) yields just
about 25 quintals of rice in six months. There is no profit. Where do I get the money for the
equipment to remove paddy stubble?”
Pradeep joins in, “And now the Haryana government is imposing fines for burning this residue. We
feed our cattle with whatever we can, but no one is ready to buy the remaining stubble from us.” He
claims he and other farmers in the village too have been fined, but refuses to give any details. “There
was no FIR, just a fine,” he says.

Anil Rathi (in a vest) and farmers of Sonipat’s Teha village burn stubble after sunset, when the fog
thickens, “to avoid satellite trackers” (Express Photo/Gajendra Yadav)

D K Behera, Director General of Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department, says the
state has a subsidy budget of Rs 65 crore for machinery to manage stubble, and 1,000 farmers have
been given the subsidy so far.
“However, the department can only give a 20 per cent subsidy on the equipment the farmers buys.
Because of this, we have used only Rs 26.75 crore from the budget. The subsidy must be increased to
40-50 per cent to make the scheme popular,” he says, adding that they have raised the matter with the
Centre.
In Bhusli village in Karnal district, Ram Mehar Singh, 45, is busy watching ‘Happy Seeder’ videos on
a ‘Krishi Kendra’ WhatsApp group — with over 100 farmers as members — since the morning. The
paddy and wheat farmer says he has been eager to purchase the equipment that will allow him to deal
with his stubble, “but does not have the funds.”
Singh attributes the vast stubble-burning in the district to the high production of paddy in the belt — it
is cultivated in 1.72 lakh hectares every year.
“We grow the PR and 1509 basmati rice varieties. While its stubble can be cut by hand, it is the cost
that deters the farmers. Manual labour costs Rs 3,000 per day, whereas a hired combine harvester will
do the job in Rs 1,000 for a day. The harvester, however, leaves the high, 60-cm stubble,” explains
Singh, speaking on the behalf of villagers for his sarpanch daughter-in-law Kusum Lata.
The stubble cut by hand, on the other hand, is just a few centimeters high. “It is used to make
mattresses and sofas,” he says.
Owner of 20 acres, Singh says he realises the damage caused by stubble-burning. “All the minerals in
the top layer of the soil get destroyed. The roots of both rice and wheat plants reach only about 6
inches deep, which is not enough to absorb minerals. For a field where stubble has been burnt, we
need 50 kg of fertilisers, that costs Rs 1,200 for every acre, whereas for a manually harvested field, it
is half of that,” he adds.
As he crosses fields with large, burnt patches, he adds sheepishly, “We have stopped 70 per cent of
stubble-burning in Bhusli, but there are always a few who resort to such measures.”
Talking about the Turbo Happy Seeder — recommended by experts to take care of most stubble
problems — Singh says, “If we get the machine for Rs 60,000, yahan kisanon ki line lag jayegi (There
will be a long queue of buyers).”
As he returns home, still glued to the videos on his phone, Singh asks why the farmers of Karnal
would want to pollute the environment. “It affects them too. Paraali jalana kisan ki majboori hai
(Stubble-burning is a compulsion for farmers).”
In Kohand village in Karnal, however, Singh’s claims that “farmers in Karnal are changing their
ways” fall flat. “Yahan sab paraali phukan hai (Everyone is burning stubble here),” says Sonu.
At 4 pm, lazily walking around a harvested paddy field, a match-box in his fist, the 28-year-old is
setting ablaze several mounds of stubble. As thick fumes rise, Sonu covers his face with his hand.
At Rs 9,000 per month, the contract labourer has been tasked with burning stubble across 48 acres. “I
have been doing this for the past week. No one has come to stop me yet. It may get captured in
satellite visuals, but then it could be anyone’s field. They can’t track us,” he says defiantly.
Less than 20 km away, in Karnal’s Uncha Siwana village, however, farm labourers Preeto (45) and
Kalua (55) complain of severe health problems “for years.” At Rs 400 per day, they collect the paddy
straw and feed it to cattle. On other days, they also help burn stubble. Loading large heaps of stubble
on a cart, Preeto says, “The entire village suffers from cough and cold. We have raised the issue at
several panchayat meetings, without a solution.”
Adds Kalua, “This year we took very few stubble-burning work. We prefer collecting the straw and
selling it to other farmers. They pay anything between Rs 300 and 500 for a quintal. But yes, a large
part remains on the fields and is burnt.”
S Narayanan, member secretary, Haryana Pollution Control Board, says the situation is improving.
“Since 2013, we have allied with the Haryana Space Application Centre, which helps us spot the fires
through satellite. We also rely on local administration to spot fires. At this time last year, the number
of reported cases was around 1,800, whereas this year there have been about 1,100, and the season for
stubble-burning is almost over. There is also a lot of awareness among farmers now,” he says.
Slamming Delhi for putting blame on farmers, Gurnam Singh Chaduni of the Bharatiya Kisan Union
says, “There is no paddy farming in regions such as Mewat, Rewari and Jhajjar, which are close to the
Capital. In Rohtak, they grow basmati; the harvesting is done manually and the straw is sold,” he says.
Back in Tehu village, as the stubble in the field turns to ash, Rathi and his men disperse, finding their
way in the dark. “Voices of distressed farmers have been echoing from all parts of the country. We
are clutching at straws, please keep us out of the pollution debate,” says Rathi.
Gulshan, another farmer from the same village, asks, “Yes, we are just 40 km from the Capital and the
air is bound to get polluted there from stubble-burning. But doesn’t Delhi’s pollution harm us too?”
Action against farmers no
solution to check husk burning,
SC told
TNN | Oct 28, 2017, 07:18 IST

New Delhi: Husk burning in Punjab and Haryana is a "huge problem" causing
pollution in and around Delhi but taking punitive action against the farmers was
not a solution to resolve the issue, the Supreme Court was told on Friday.
Arguing before a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, senior advocate
Harish Salve, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter,
said that farmers have a genuine problem and their plight should be understood.

"There is a huge problem of husk burning in Punjab. In Haryana also, farmers are
burning husk. We have to plan a solution for this problem. It is polluting Delhi and
national capital region (NCR)," Salve told the bench.

He said the government should provide trains and trucks to remove these husks so
that it is not burnt by the farmers.

"We understand the plight of farmers. Putting them in jail cannot be done. They
have a genuine problem but at the same time, the city is choking due to this," Salve
said.

During the hearing, the court said it would first deal with a report of the
Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) relating to comprehensive action
plan for air pollution control with the objective to meet ambient air quality in the
Delhi-NCR, including states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The bench said as per the report, two issues, including the scheduled
implementation of BS VI emission standards, were required to be dealt with by it.
The court asked the government to come prepared for arguments on these issues
and fixed the matter for hearing on November 17.

The top court had earlier asked the Centre to mull over whether on-board
diagnostic (OBD) scanners could be made compulsory for vehicle pollution test
centres in grade A cities like Delhi, from December 1.

OBD is an automotive term referring to a vehicle's self-diagnostic and reporting


capability. OBD II is designed to inform a car owner about any malfunction,
including problems with the brake or the emission control system.

In its report filed in the court, EPCA has favoured a review and upgradation of the
pollution under control norms for pre-BS IV vehicles and upgrade the test
procedure for smoke density of commercial vehicles.

The apex court is dealing with a petition which has raised the issue of air pollution
and its ill-effects in and around Delhi and NCR.

The court had on December 2 last year accorded its nod to the Graded Response
Action Plan (GRAP) to tackle different levels of pollution.

It had also asked the Central Pollution Control Board to upgrade its existing
infrastructure and set up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six
months.

The GRAP, aimed at reducing air pollution, has enumerated a number of measures
which include closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers, intensifying
public transport services besides increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of
road and sprinkling of water on roads. PTI
DELHI CHOKES, HARYANA’S BURNING FIELDS SMOKE
Saturday, 14 October 2017 | Sapna Singh | Karnal/Kurukshetra

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For the edification of those looking for the epicentre of the air pollution epidemic in the
Capital, the stocks of (now banned) firecrackers in the cheek by jowl retail outlets of
Chandni Chowk or the wholesale market of Sadar Bazaar are not where it’s at.
If you really want to know, ground zero for the smog enveloping Delhi-NCR with Diwali still six
days away, is a nondescript village called Taraori in Haryana’s Karnal district. Crop stubble is
being burnt night and day here, an activity which, along with the other fields set alight to clear
crop residue for the next sowing season across rural Haryana and Punjab, is estimated to cause
up to 35 per cent of the pollutants in Delhi’s air for a six-week period in winter.
And it’s an open secret in Taraori. “We need our land for vegetable cultivation. There is no other
way available to us other than burning the paddy straw to clear our fields,” Ramnath Singh, a
farmer, told The Pioneer, while sowing potatoes in his burnt out field. He is not alone. Vast tracts
of agricultural fields have been set on fire by farmers in Karnal, Kurukshetra and Panipat who
claim they are left with no other option but to burn the paddy stubble to prepare their fields for the
next harvest.
Smoke billowing from burning paddy stubble had created a haze of smog that can be seen
covering the sky and moving towards the national Capital. NASA images too show stubble
burning going on in the fields of Haryana and Punjab, though the farmers claim ignorance for
obvious reasons.
Off the record, Haryana farmers are adamant and say they will not abide by any administrative
diktat to stop burning of paddy stubble, regardless of the fact that the level of pollutant values on
the National Ambient Air Quality Index (NAQI) is becoming a serious concern for authorities.
SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), a unit of the Ministry of
Earth Sciences (MoES) on Friday raised the red flag and marked the level of Suspended Particu-
late Matters (SPMs) as “Red”.
All the farmers spoken to by The Pioneer were fully aware that burning paddy husk has been
banned. And the authorities are making some efforts to check the practice. So the fields are now
being set alight at night and the farmers feign ignorance when officials of the State Government
tasked with preventing crop stubble burning arrive in their part of the world bright and early each
morning.
It would, however, be too simplistic to make farmers the sole villains of the piece. They too have
their livelihood concerns. Many of the farmers spoken to explained the rationale behind stubble
burning. They said they do not have the money to invest in mechanised clearing of their fields
and burning was the cheapest method. “If the Government and courts are really serious about
preventing us from burning crop stubble we should be compensated for using other more
expensive means of doing so,” said a farmer from Karnal who did not want to be named. “Paddy
straw does not decompose on its own. We cannot remove it using tractors, and doing so
manually is very, very expensive and time consuming,” he added.
Accepting that stubble burning is a major cause of pollution for the NCR, officials in Haryana said
they have started to enforce the order against the practice. Karmchand, the Deputy Director
(Agriculture) of Kurukshetra told The Pioneer, “In the rabi season of 2017, we penalised 54
farmers and the total penalty generated was Rs 1,45,000; in the kharif season of 2016, 207
farmers were penalised and we collected Rs 4,58,000 in fines.” Small recompense, that, for
burning lungs. “Farmers are stubborn and burn agricultural waste as they want to prepare the
land for cultivation in a short span of 24 hours,” Karamchand added.
According to another official, burning straw, husk or biomass started when agricultural labourers
stopped working in private fields as they got paid more for working for the Government’s
MNREGA scheme. According to one estimate, 33 per cent of all agricultural labourers have left
their jobs to work on construction projects under MNREGA.
Farmers of Ramba, the village adjacent to Taraori, said in unison: “We cannot be bothered about
your issues of air pollution when our survival is at stake. The authorities can arrest us or penalise
us but we will not stop stubble burning. Added Ramesh, a local resident and farmer: “And why is
the Government ignoring the pollution generated by rice mills? They too are responsible. Why
are only farmers being targeted?”
There is, however, a silver lining albeit a faint one. In Barana, another village in Kurukshetra,
farmers have set an example by adopting the modern agricultural methods. “With the use of
rotators, reaper binders, reversible ploughs, mulchers and straw shedders farmers are being able
to clear fields without generating pollution. But this is the exception rather than the rule.
Punjab farmers defy NGT ban, openly burn
crop residue to protest lack of
compensation
Farmers burn crop residue in Bhatinda, Punjab in defiance of an NGT order

Angry with the Punjab government for not compensating them, farmers on Tuesday brunt wheat stubble in
their fields, in open defiance of a National Green Tribunal order.
Hundreds of farmers from 13 districts,including Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Barnala, Fatehgarh, Mohali,
Muktsar, Faridkot, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, took part in the protest against
the state's Congress government.
The NGT had in November 2015 banned crop residue burning in five states - Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan,
Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
The order came after remote sensing pictures revealed that the mass field fires increased air pollution in
Delhi and the National Capital Region. The activity is now being monitored with the help of NASA.
Under the NGT order, farmers would be fined Rs 2500 per acre for burning agriculture waste in Punjab.
Punjab farmers, who are still eagerly waiting for loan waivers, agreed to stop burning the fields but
demanded compensation in return as managing farm waste requires additional investment.
"Heavens would not have fallen had the government compensated us with Rs 2000 per acre for managing
the wheat stubble. Wheat stubble is used as fodder but the paddy waste is useless," Basant Singh, a farmer
who burnt his wheat field to mark the protest in Kotha Guru village on Tuesday, told India Today.
"The government should come forward and tell us what to do with paddy straw. We burnt our wheat
stubble as protest," Singh added.
"We had submitted memorandums through deputy commissioners to provide an assistance of Rs 2000 per
acre for not burning crop residues besides subsidy on biological management of wheat straws and
availability of power at least for eight hours. As the deadline came to an end on Monday we were forced to
burn the agriculture waste," President Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Moga Gurpinder Singh said.
While the state government authorities are tight lipped about the compensation demanded by the farmers,
the NGT in its recent order has asked the states to speed up punitive action against the erring farmers.
While Punjab officials have registered over 700 crop burning cases against the farmers none of the
protesters in Bathinda and Moga were fined on Tuesday for defying the NGT ban