New Delhi, Nov 6 : At a three-hour-long hearing, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked UP, Haryana and Punjab governments to provide Rs 100 per quintal assistance within seven days to small and marginal farmers to help them from burning stubble to clear fields.
The Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said agriculture was the backbone of the country and it’s the duty of the government to protect small and marginal farmers. Lack of funds couldn’t be a ground for the government to neglect them.
“Provide stubble managing machinery free to small and marginal farmers for the time being, as it will address stubble burning”, said Justice Mishra.
The court slammed Punjab, Haryana and UP governments, which cited lack of funds and indebtedness for their inability to meet these directions.
“The state governments prepare a roadmap…small and marginal farmers are often left behind and big farmers reap benefits. We want to change this trend,” said the court. The court also asked the state governments to assist small and marginal farmers to access machines that could help in managing stubble, especially from the local custom hiring centres.
The court also directed the Centre to frame a comprehensive scheme to take care of environment issues and protect the interest of small and marginal farmers within three months. It should be implemented across the country, the court added.
The court asked the Delhi government to take concrete steps to counter pollution and not hide behind the failure of corrupt civic agencies. “Pollution hot spots have been identified in Delhi. We want action. A compliance report should be filed by the Chief Secretary on the action-taken to address pollution at these spots,” said the court pointing to shocking state of affairs in the national capital.