Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered the Agriculture Department to work out the modalities for immediate implementation of the Supreme Court orders on providing financial assistance to small and marginal farmers who had not burnt any paddy straw.
At the same time, the Chief Minister also ordered stringent action against those found violating the ban on stubble burning, in line with the apex court’s directives on penalization of such farmers.
The Chief Minister chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court orders, which would put an additional burden on the cash strapped state, which was already reeling under fiscal problems in the GST regime. He stressed that the central government would have to support the state for a permanent resolution of the problem.
Farmers who had refrained from burning paddy straw despite the financial problems they were facing needed to be incentivized and encouraged, said Captain Amarinder, asking the Agriculture and Finance Departments to take immediate steps to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court orders on providing compensation to such farmers. The Chief Minister asked the Finance Department to ensure requisite funds for the necessary payment to farmers.
Captain Amarinder also asked the Police department to crack down on all offending farmers and identify those who needed to be penalized for indulging in burning of paddy straw, which had contributed to the severe air pollution in the state and neighbouring regions.
The meeting was informed that more than 900 FIRs had so far been registered against erring farmers, mostly in Sri Muktsar Sahib and Bathinda, with some cases reported in Sangrur.
The meeting was attended by Cabinet Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Manpreet Singh Badal, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, DGP Intelligence V K Bhawra, Financial Commissioner Revenue KBS Sidhu, Additional Chief Secretary Development Viswajeet Khanna, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary Environment Rakesh Kumar Verma and Secretary Agriculture Kahan Singh Pannu.