The Punjab government on Wednesday asked the police to cancel all first information reports filed against farmers for protesting against the Centre’s three contentious agricultural laws, The Hindu reported.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi made the announcement after a meeting with 32 farm unions of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ groups, in Chandigarh.
Approximately 500 first information reports have been registered against farmers in the state, Outlook reported.
Since last year, farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the Centre’s agricultural laws passed in September 2020. The central government has claimed that the new laws are aimed at making farming more profitable, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance in the sector.
In January, nearly two months into the farmer protests, the Supreme Court had suspended the implementation of the farm laws.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday said that police cases against farmers, who burn stubble or agricultural waste, would also be revoked, NDTV reported.
“We want farmers to stop stubble burning and the government will take strict action,” Channi said. “But we are cancelling all FIRs registered for stubble burning till now. I am appealing to farmers not to burn stubble.”
In winters, farmers burn the residue of their harvest since it is a cost-effective and time-saving measure to prepare the fields for sowing of other crops. However, this practice results in increased levels of air pollution in vast areas of North India during the winter months.
This season, Punjab has recorded over 67,000 farm fires, a member of the state pollution control board told PTI on Wednesday.
The central government had on Monday informed the Supreme Court that stubble burning was not a major cause of air pollution in Delhi. The government noted that burning of farm waste accounted for only 10% of the emissions on an average through the year.
The Supreme Court had backed the Centre, saying that the “hue and cry” about stubble burning had no factual basis.