Stubble-burning only option for us, say waterlogging-hit farmers

Muktsar, October 10: Farmers of waterlogged villages in Muktsar district are in a spot as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a ban on burning crop stubble, but they don’t have any alternative.

They claim that due to moist land it was impossible for them to plough the fields to remove stubble and sow the next crop.

A number of farmers even met the Deputy Commissioner today in this regard. They said the burning of paddy stubble was the lone option available to them. “Even after ploughing the field the stubble cannot be removed fully. Further, it is not possible to use heavy machinery to make bales of the crop residue. The labourers are scarcely available and reapers too can’t work properly due to land lying wet,” said Mangal Singh, sarpanch, Chuantra village.

Similarly, when asked Lachman Chand, sarpanch, Jhabelwali village, said, “We have been facing the problem of waterlogging for a long time. The underground water is available at the depth of just 2.5 ft. Thus the height of paddy stubble, too, remains high. If we will not burn it, we will not be able to sow wheat crop. The state government must think about us and bring out some solution.”

Meanwhile, Baljinder Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Muktsar, said, “After the farmers approached the DC, we sent a team of our experts to waterlogged villages to assess the situation.”

There are a number of waterlogged villages in Muktsar district. Those worst affected included Chauntra, Marhmallu, Sangrana, Jhabelwali, Bahmanwala and Charewan villages.
Badal backs farmers’ bonus demand

Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday favoured the farmers’ demand of bonus on paddy crop to manage its residue. Badal said if the farmers would get some monetary assistance, then they would agree not to burn the residue or it would be a hard task for both the farmers and government to end the deadlock. He was here today on a tour of some villages in his home constituency Lambi.

Further interacting with mediapersons, Badal said the Congress government in the state had failed on all fronts. About the venomous speeches being delivered by politicians of all parties in the Gurdapsur bypoll campaign, Badal said, “I don’t use harsh words in my speech and can’t comment about others.”

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