Pro­duce 21 farm­ers who were helped to stop stub­ble burn­ing: NGT to Pun­jab

The Hitavada - - NATION -

THE Na­tional Green Tri­bunal on Thurs­day di­rected the Pun­jab Govern­ment to pro­duce be­fore it 21 farm­ers which it claimed to have helped by giv­ing in­cen­tives and in­fras­truc­tural fa­cil­i­ties to pre­vent them from burn­ing crop residue in a bid to check air pol­lu­tion.

Over a hun­dred farm­ers had gath­ered out­side the NGT premises here on Wed­nes­day to at­tend the hear­ing on the is­sue and put forth their sub­mis­sions and griev­ances through a lawyer be­fore a bench headed by NGT Chair­per­son Jus­tice Swatan­ter Ku­mar. The bench took ex­cep­tion to the fact that even af­ter more than two years, noth­ing sub­stan­tial has been done with re­gard to stub­ble burn­ing.

It di­rected the Pun­jab Govern­ment to pro­duce the 21 farm­ers be­fore it on Oc­to­ber 13, af­ter the state told the NGT that it had pro­vided as­sis­tance to them to en­cour­age them not to burn crop residue.

“For two years, we waited for you (Pun­jab) to com­ply with our di­rec­tion. We asked you to come up with an ac­tion plan for at least one district. What steps did you take in this re­gard?

“Can you pro­duce a sin­gle farmer in en­tire Pun­jab be­fore us, whom you can pro­duce be­fore us and say that you have given him any kind of as­sis­tance? This is not a po­lit­i­cal is­sue but this is­sue re­lates to the en­vi­ron­ment. You should think as a hu­man be­ing why this is tak­ing so long,” the bench, also com­pris­ing Jus­tice R S Rathore, said.

Dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings, ad­vo­cate I G Kapila, ap­pear­ing for the farm­ers, re­ferred to a news­pa­per re­port and said the Na­tional Ther­mal Power Cor­po­ra­tion (NTPC) and a few biomass power units have ex­pressed their in­tent to pur­chase crop residue from farm­ers in sur­round­ing states. He said the NTPC and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other com­pa­nies were will­ing to cut and buy crop residue from the fields.

Kapila, on be­half of the large num­ber of farm­ers who had gath­ered out­side the NGT to at­tend the hear­ing, said the state Govern­ment had not taken any con­crete step to help the farm­ers. Pun­jab Govern­ment had ear­lier said that they have taken Kalar Ma­jri vil­lage in Nabha Tehsil of Pa­tiala district as a model project for im­ple­ment­ing the di­rec­tions of the NGT and to sen­si­tise the farm­ers. While the farm­ers, which has around 390 acres of land un­der the paddy crop, were yet to get ma­chin­ery or fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance by the Govern­ment, the neighbouring vil­lages have started set­ting their fields on fire, a farmer said out­side the court­room. The green panel had asked the Govern­ment to look into the problems and di­rected its coun­sel to seek in­struc­tions whether com­pen­sa­tion could be pro­vided to them for dis­pos­ing.

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