Rumours, booking of women, strained social relationships and lega

Instead of providing immediate help to sow next crop, cluster officials rush to lodge the FIRs against violators

 Faridkot: The action taken plan to stop the paddy stubble burning is leading to unnecessary psychological stress to the farmers besides spoiling personal relations among the locals and creating a tense situation for the Sarpanches who are supposed to report the stubble burring cases against the farmers of his or her village.

Lack of properly educating the farmers and help them out the problem, some people are causing rumours which further tense the farmers whose even next crop is getting too late.

On social media, even some government functionaries during past days have been creating a panic among the farmers instead of educating them in true sense.”As the farmers are debt ridden, they have to transfer ownership rights of property, their children are going abroad and they get subsides on fertilizers and power supply for tubewells, there are some messages on social media that that if they burn the stubble, they would not get any subsides, take loans, transfer ownership rights and even send their children abroad for studies. It has led to a panic among the farmers instead of providing solutions,” said Jagga Singh, a farmer from Faridkot village.

“If one decides to not burn the stubble, he should be contacted and helped sowing next crop without burring stubble, he says.”But instead of it, the cluster authorizes are reporting against the violations booking them under section 188 of CrPC for disobedience of order,” said another farmer.

Even the women are also booked in stubble burning  cases because of their property rights and in some cases , a neighbor or owner has complained against violators and farmers whom they had given the land on annual contract.

In Village Ghaniwala, 3 women have been booked including 5 men for stubble burning  and a woman land owner had lodged a complaint against two brothers in Jalaleana village stating that they had set fire on paddy stubble on three acres of land which she had lent to them on annual contract.

But Narinder Kumar Jeet , a senior advocate from Bathinda trashes such rumours.”Actually it is a psychological warfare. We agree that if farmers are given Rs 2500 per acre  as compensation, they will not burn the stubble. There is no provision in the law which allows the government to deprive the farmers of their rights though they violate the ban. The farmer unions would not let it happen. If they can have a convict falsely implicated released, they would not let this happen too,” said NK Jeet, who has a long association for such democratic organizations fighting their cases.

“When a farmer is booked under section 188 of CrPC, it is a bail able offence. Under this section, there is a provision that the offender can be penalized with a maximum jail term of 6 months or a fine upto Rs 1000. The crime causing health hazards falls in this category, “said Ashu Mittal, another advocate from district courts of Faridkot.

The sources claimed that the courts usually left of the farmers with a fine and warning if one does not contest the case. It is not a lengthy and tiresome process of getting justice. But if wants to contest the case, he is allowed as well.

“The checking the stubble burning has led to the strained relationship. A neighbor cannot complain against a neighbor  and even sarpanches, who are elected representatives of village, can not afford to go against the people of their village as it leads to enmity while villages are already facing groupism,” said Gurdev Singh, a farmer.

Deputy commissioner Faridkot, Kumar Sourabh Raj said that action is being taken against the violators as per law. The actual number of farmers is higher than the number of FIRs as there could be more accused in one FIR.

Till November 9, there were 69 FIRs against the farmers which could add up to 100 by now.

“We have 30 cluster officers who keep a vigil on violators and then the cases would go to pollution control board for environment compensation fine. It may take some time as they have short number of staff. Besides it, the cases would go to revenue department for necessary actions. We are bound by the NGT and Apex court orders and committed to stop stubble burning,” the DC said.

But the farmers were miffed that when they donot want to burn the stubble and sow wheat crop, why the government help them immediately with proper machinery and other techniques instead of penalizing them.

For the details of action taken report in Faridkot district, he asked Punjab tribune to contact ADC development Paramjeet Kaur .”When contacted earlier Parmjeet did not receive the calls, and later  said that she did not have latest figure and revert back to tell it. But despite repeated attempts to contact her, she could not be contacted.


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