Burning of crop residues and stalks after harvest is a traditional method of cleaning a field practiced by farmers.
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. However at the same time, the court has also directed the states to safeguard the interests of the farmers as they should not suffer losses because of the compliance.
"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?" What step did you take thereafter?
"Rather than penalising the farmers, the state government should come out with providing financial assistance for farmers", they said.
During the proceedings, advocate IG 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. "Stubble burning is for betterment of land, and we will continue till our demands are met", he added. "Consequences will be serious if it is found that these people are posed", said the Bench.
Following the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), state government and district administration has tightened strictures against stubble burning, and booked charges against farmers, who are not following orders.
The farmers have been asked to be present before the Tribunal on Friday.
The statement came a day after the NGT had 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.