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.
Farmers in Sheikhupura and Sangrur's Daska village of Punjab on Thursday burnt stubble in a show of protest against Government's order of banning the practice.
The Bench took exception to the fact that even after more than two years, nothing substantial has been done with regard to stubble burning.
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. What steps did you take in this regard? You pick up one farmer, produce one farmer in entire Punjab, who you have said "here is the money, you will go to jail if you burn your crop' or here is a machine that can help you manage the residue", the bench noted. "You think you have no obligation to anyone on this earth. Our expense will increase if we don't burn stubble; our land will not be ready for sowing and the cropping season will get delayed", said a protesting farmer, and added that government should pay them compensation to cover their losses.
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. "Why is there so much of dissatisfaction among the farmers and what is the reason behind the distrust between them and the government?" asked the Bench.
Earlier, the NGT had warned the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that it would stop the payment of salaries of government officials if they failed to come up with an action plan to prevent stubble burning, which triggers heavy pollution in Delhi-NCR.