Punjab, Haryana HC seeks response to petition on stubble-burning

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CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 29, 2018, asked the centre and Punjab and Haryana pollution control boards to respond to a petition on stubble-burning. The HC also asked Haryana Government to file its reply in the ongoing case.

The developments occurred after Bharti Kisan Union counsel Charanpal Singh Bagri filed a petition before Justice Jitendra Chauhan’s bench.

Earlier Bagri had sought issuance of directions to the respondents to pay adequate per-acre compensation to farmers, as per the orders by the state government which had restrained them from burning paddy straw, stubble, and residue.

He told the bench that the farmers burning paddy straw were fined from Rs 2,500 to Rs 15,000. Criminal action was also initiated. Besides, red entry was made in the revenue record.

The state policy was resulting in the oppression of the farmers and discouraging them from paddy cultivation. Bagri said that if the paddy straw was not burnt it will remain in the field and decay.

He told the bench that the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Delhi High Court had laid down guidelines for the state governments to follow to avoid “situation where farmers were not able to carry out agricultural activity”.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the state government to take proactive measures by providing affordable and readily available solutions. The intention was to save the farming community and the general public from hazards of straw-burning.

Delhi High Court also issued certain guidelines and asked for a status report from the government.

Bagri requested for appropriate directions to the state government to rescue the farmers in view of the guidelines laid down by the courts.

Justice Rajan Gupta took up the matter in its initial stages and asked the Chief Secretary to depute a senior-level officer who is not below the joint secretary’s level, to assist the court in the matter.

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