9 UP Farmers Warned of Freeze on PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi for Burning Stubble
Burning of rice residues in SE Punjab, India, prior to the wheat season. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Lucknow: Acting tough on farmers flouting the ban on stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the Yogi Adityanath government has warned that it will stop providing benefits of the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KSN) to them.
The agriculture department has already sent notices to nine farmers accused of stubble burning in the Deoria district of eastern UP.
“It is just a warning to farmers who are not abiding by the state government’s directions,” Devesh Chaturvedi, additional chief secretary, agriculture, told Newsclick adding that the warning is meant to “discourage farmers from burning farm waste”.
The department is also considering a permanent ban on other facilities provided to such farmers. The administration had earlier directed its employees to prevent stubble burning by staying in their respective areas.
Vikesh Kumar Patel, deputy director agriculture, said that “Shubham Bio Energy had bought about 200 tonnes of stubble from 42 farmers at Rs 150 per quintal in Deoria”.
According to state government directives, any farmer caught burning agricultural residue or waste would be fined Rs 2,500 for fields measuring less than two acres, Rs 5,000 for two-five acres and Rs 15,000 for fields more than five acres.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has threatened to launch a statewide agitation if grants under PM-KSN aren’t provided to the nine farmers.
“Instead of providing an effective solution to stubble burning, the state government has announced to stop giving benefits of the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi to farmers for burning residue,”
Mukut Singh, state general secretary, AIKS, told Newsclick.
“We will not tolerate such actions. If any action is initiated against the farmers, we will start a statewide agitation,” Singh added. “Farmers from across the state will gather at Eco Garden, in Lucknow, under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on November 26 and march towards Raj Bhawan, where they will raise the issue of stubble burning and how the administration is intimidating and harassing poor farmers.”
Singh said that the Centre had “promised during last year’s farmers’ protest in Delhi not to take action against farmers for burning stubble but failed to fulfil it”.
While the government is urging farmers to adopt alternative means to dispose of stubble, the growers claim that the suggested measures are "impractical".
Harikesh Bahadur, a farmer from Ballia and member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), alleged that the state government is “lying that it is purchasing stubble from farmers with no circular released by the district administration”.
“The government should understand that the easiest way for us to dispose of stubble is to burn it. We cannot afford other measures like uprooting them with special equipment, spraying biochemicals, etc. as they are labour intensive and cost money,” Bahadur added.
Farmers need to “quickly prepare their fields for the next crops. Poor farmers have no option but to burn the stubble”, Bahadur said.
Harinam Singh Verma, state chief, BKU (apolitical) told Newsclick that the Yogi Adityanath government may have an “inclination towards farmers but nothing has been done to uplift them”.
“November is considered the best month to sow wheat but farmers are running from pillar to post for one packet of fertiliser,” Verma alleged.
Last year, a 30-year-old farmer in the Barabanki district died allegedly due to “shock” when the Lekhpal (revenue official) threatened him with a hefty fine in the name of stubble burning, according to his family.
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