NGT orders Punjab Government to produce the 21 Farmers

Representative image:(Reuters)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Wednesday directed the Punjab government to produce before it the 21 farmers it claims to have helped by providing incentives and infrastructural facilities to prevent them from burning crop residue.

The NGT even questioned the inaction of the state government for over two years since the case was filed to look into stubble burning and its effects on air pollution.

During the proceedings, advocate IG Kapila, appearing for the farmers, referred to a newspaper report that pointed out that the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and a few biomass power units had expressed interest in purchasing crop residue from farmers in surrounding states. “They (Punjab government) have definitely used the power of the state. Unfortunately, for ensuring that, the crop is definitely burnt,” he told the bench.

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The counsel for the Punjab government said “two scientists from agricultural universities” were also present.
“If you leave the straw on the surface, there is no adverse effect on the soil but if you want to mix it with the soil, it will take at least three weeks for the soil to be prepared for the next crop,” said a scientist.
Last week, the NGT had asked the Punjab government to look into problems faced by farmers and directed its counsel to seek instructions on whether compensation could be provided to them for disposing of their agricultural residue while giving them liberty to engage any agency of their choice.