Always sharing blame for causing pollution due to stubble burning, Punjab farmers found a laudatory mention for a change in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio talk ‘Mann ki Baat’ on Sunday for shunning away from this practice.
Modi not only hailed a Tarn Taran farmer, Gurbachan Singh, who had put a condition that he will marry his son in such a family, which doesn’t indulge in stubble burning, but also praised Kallar Majra village of Nabha subdivision of Patiala district wherein farmers have collectively shunned the practice of straw burning.
“A few days ago, I was reading about a farmer, Gurbachan Singh, from Punjab. The son of this hard-working farmer was to be married. He told the bride’s parents that the marriage would be performed in a solemn manner and it has to be very simple event. But then he suddenly said that he had one condition. And, when a condition is put these days, it is generally thought that the other side is going to make a big demand, which will be really difficult for the bride’s family to fulfil. But you will be surprised to know that Gurbachan asked the bride’s father to promise that they will never burn ‘parali’ (stubble) in their fields,” the PM said.
“This is the true strength of our society,” he said while narrating the interesting episode from the life of Gurbachan of Burj Deva Singh village of Tarn Taran, who has been not burning any crop residue for the past two decades.
Mentioning Kallar Majra, the PM said the village came into limelight as the farmers there mix the stubble with the soil while ploughing their fields rather than burning the stubble and adopt the necessary technology for the process.
“Congratulations to Bhai Gurbachan Singh ji. Congratulations to the people of Kallar Majra and of all those places who are making their best efforts to keep the environment clean and pollution-free,” he added.
“All of you are carrying forward the Indian tradition of a healthy lifestyle as a true successor. Just as a sea is formed by collection of tiny drops, similarly, a small constructive step plays a vital role in creating a positive environment,” he added.
Elated over Modi’s laudatory mention of Punjab farmers, state agriculture secretary KS Pannu, who is also the nodal officer for the anti-stubble burning campaign, said “It’s acknowledgement of our work and farmers’ contribution towards the drive against stubble burning.”
He added, “Our consistent efforts have paid off. I can assure you that more than 1,000 villages this time will replicate Kallar Majra experiment by shunning the practice of straw burning.”
Birdalvinder Singh, a farmer of Kallar Majra who was the first to shun the practice of stubble burning a decade ago, and also educated his fellow villagers about its ill-effects, said, “It’s good that PM acknowledged our efforts and contribution towards protecting the environment. We did not indulge even in a single farm fire last year and we will refrain from this practice this year as well.”
Following Kallar Majra’s mention in PM’s message, Punjab agricultural director Jasbir Singh Bains and joint director Manmohan Kalia reached the village and congratulated the farmers.
They also said the Punjab government will provide the required machinery to mulch the stubble to mix it into soil or turn it into belches to be used as fuel in power plants.