Farm unions seek aid for straw management

Punjab
Posted at: Sep 11, 2018, 1:19 AM; last updated: Sep 11, 2018, 1:19 AM (IST)

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Kulwinder Sandhu

Tribune News Service

Moga, September 10

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) and its allied farm unions have demanded Rs 200 per quintal as bonus or Rs 6,000 per acre as financial assistance for stopping paddy straw/stubble burning to check air pollution in the state.

While confirming this, general secretary of the BKU (Ekta) Sukhdev Singh Kokri said a decision in this regard was taken during a joint meeting of seven farm unions held at Moga on Monday.

He said the farm unions were in favour of scientific management of paddy straw without burning only if the government bears all the expenses incurred on it.

“The farmers here are not enough financially sound to bear the expenses on the management of paddy straw without burning. Therefore, the government must roll out financial assistance,” he said.

“An average of Rs 6,000 per acre is spent on straw management in an eco-friendly manner. The poor farmers, who are already debt-ridden and are committing suicides, cannot afford to spend huge amounts on straw management,” he added.

The farm unions condemned the legal action taken against farmers for burning straw in the state during the past one year.

They said if the state government continued to adopt a “biased attitude” against farmers in the coming paddy harvesting season, they would be forced to launch an agitation.

Kokri said the state government must adopt a humane approach by providing financial assistance to farmers for straw management rather than taking harsh steps of registering cases against them.

As per an estimate, nearly 20 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt in the state every year causing widespread pollution.

Meanwhile, the BKU (Ekta) and its allied farm unions have decided to hold a convention on the burning of paddy straw on September 23 at Barnala in which the representatives of all farm unions, environmentalists and agro scientists have been invited to discuss the issue of burning straw and its impact on the environment.

Flay legal action

  • Farm unions have demanded Rs 200 per quintal as bonus or Rs 6,000 per acre as financial assistance for stopping paddy straw/stubble burning 
  • They said farmers were not so financially sound that they could bear the expenses on the management of paddy straw
  • They condemned the legal action taken against farmers for burning straw
  • Nearly 20 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt in the state every year