In a rather controversial incident, a group of farmers in Punjab’s Bathinda district found themselves in hot water after reportedly coercing a government official, part of a delegation tasked with preventing crop residue burning, to set fire to the straw stubble lying in a field last Friday.
This incident drew public attention after Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann shared an alleged video of the entire occurrence on his social media platform.
Condemning the event, Mann announced that an FIR (First Information Report) has been initiated in this regard.
Providing further details, Bathinda Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Gulneet Singh Khurana explained that the incident unfolded within the jurisdiction of Nahian Wala police station, situated in Mehma Sarja village.
“(A team of officials) had gone to Mehma Sarja village to persuade the farmers to refrain from burning crop residue. During this visit, the local farmers summoned their union, and, as a result, compelled our civil administration’s officer, Harpreet Singh, to ignite the stubble present in the field,” stated the police officer.
SSP Khurana revealed that an FIR had been registered concerning this incident, naming seven individuals. Additionally, actions are being taken against other involved parties, including identifying members of the union present at the scene, as police investigations are ongoing.
Crop residue burning, commonly prevalent in regions of agricultural states such as Punjab and Haryana, involves the deliberate incineration of straw stubble remaining after the harvesting of grains, including paddy and wheat. This practice is a major contributor to air pollution in northern India, significantly deteriorating air quality, particularly during this time of the year. Combined with vehicular emissions, it adversely impacts the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital and other neighboring areas.