SC asks Cabinet Secretary-led panel to consider withholding MSP for farmers burning stubble
New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Union Cabinet Secretary-led Committee to consider excluding farmers burning stubble from the minimum support price (MSP) category.
A bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said that States and Centre must forget politics and find a "lasting solution" to the menace of air pollution.
"Why should people who, despite all observations of the court, despite counselling, continue violating the law (by burning stubble) be allowed to benefit monetarily," questioned the bench.
It said that the government should consider giving 100 per cent subsidy or financial incentive on the purchase of baling machines.
However, the apex court asked the Union Cabinet Secretary-led panel to examine the "long term impact" of paddy cultivation and asked how alternative crops requiring less water may be encouraged.
During the hearing, Punjab's Advocate General Gurminder Singh stated that around 1,000 FIRs were lodged against farm owners in the state while more than 600 "red entries" have been lodged against errant cultivators in the revenue records.
The state government apprised that it was able to recover a fine of Rs 18 lakh out of a total imposed more than Rs 2 crore.
But, the top court called for another affidavit detailing the status of recovery of environment compensation imposed on farmers burning stubble.
In relation to burning of e-waste, the bench asked the state governments to act on their own and said that "it will take them to task" if states fail to redress the problem.
In an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court had passed a series of directives to stop stubble burning, saying that residents of Delhi are suffering because governments of Delhi and adjoining states can't find a solution.
It had said that local SHO should be made responsible for looking into stubble burning under the supervision of the Chief Secretary of the state.