5 December 2022

Rudrapur: Three days after the district magistrate ( DM ) of Udham Singh Nagar imposed section 144 across the district to ban the burning of crop residues and garbage as part of measures to prevent smog, many farmers under the Bharatiya Kisan Union ( BKU ) banner openly burnt stubble to mark a district-wide protest in every village of Terai, also known as the rice bowl of Uttarakhand.

On October 4, DM Yugal Kishor Pant imposed section 144 of the CrPC in the district, banning stubble burning in the open. In the order, it was stated that anybody found violating the order would be punished under IPC section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servants ) and the Pollution Control Act 1981. The order was passed in compliance with the National Green Tribunal ( NGT ) directive against stubble burning.

BKU members burn stubble
BKU members burn stubble

However, farmers alleged that no financial assistance is being provided to them for the purchase of happy seeder machines and other such tools for stubble management, and ” such an order is an extra financial load on them “. As the harvesting of paddy ( rice ) has started in the Terai region, the farmers indicated that they would ” continue to burn paddy stubble ” unless the government suitably compensates them for expenses incurred on alternative methods of disposing crop residue. ” The administration should first come up with an alternative and then ask farmers to refrain from burning the crop residue. We are not in favor of stubble burning, but there should be a viable option. It’s not out of choice, but out of compulsion, ” said Karm Singh Padda, state president of BKU.

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