Nelanshu Shukla and Saurabh Pandey
More than 200 farmers have been booked by the Pilibhit police for burning paddy crop residues in their farmlands. Angry over the action taken by the police, farmers protested in multiple locations across the district.
Speaking to media, the city magistrate of Pilibhit district, Ritu Punia said, “Stubble burning has been sharply reducing the air quality and is severely causing pollution. We are following the guidelines issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The district officials conducted awareness drives in the rural areas and the farmers were directed to prevent burning of crop residues but still it is being done unabated.”
“Cases are being registered on complaints filed by SDM, tehsildars and lekhpals. The exact strength of farmers involved in stubble burning across the district will be clear after the investigation,” said the city magistrate.
Meanwhile, in the last two weeks at least nine farmers were booked in Bilsanda area, 47 in Neuria area, 48 in Amariya, 16 in Puranpur, 17 in Seramau, 25 in Madhotanda, 22 in Jahanabad and cases have been registered against 15 farmers under section related to mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage.
FIRs have also been registered against farmers in other areas of the district as well.
Meanwhile, angry farmers protested against the district administration’s decision to register FIR against them. The farmers have also submitted a memorandum to the SDM in Bisalpur area.
Speaking to India Today TV, Kulvinder, who is a farmer, said “We are already facing a lot of difficulties in dealing with the stray cattle menace. Now the farmers have unnecessarily been booked for stubble burning. Factories are the main reason behind pollution, but why action is being taken only against the farmers. The government calls us ‘Annadata’ ( food provider) but still we are being exploited.”