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Punjab: Faridkot farmers hold Patwari hostage for over 24 hours for inspecting stubble burning

Faridkot: A revenue official (Patwari) who was out to inspect stubble burning was held hostage by farmers for over 24 hours at the Jeewan Wala village of the Faridkot district in Punjab.

The farmers demanded a written assurance of no challan over the burning of their stubble and said that the official will not be set free until their demands are met. The patwari had visited the district to inspect a report of stubble burning which is being reported across the state.

However, Kalnab Tehsildar and SDM Kotkapura reached the spot and tried to talk to the farmers, however, they failed to convince the farmers to let go of the official.

"SDM promised that machines will be provided but nothing has been done. We burn stubble as there is no other option," a farmer said.

Anil Kumar, Tehsildar, Faridkot said, "Our nodal officer gave a report of stubble burning. Patwari had come here to find that out. The villagers came to know about this and took him hostage. We are talking to the farmers."

Earlier on Thursday, local farmers in Punjab's Bathinda district expressed their dissatisfaction over Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann-led state government's failure to find an alternative to the stubble-burning problem and threatened to hold hostage any officials coming to stop them from burning the stubble.

"If any officials come to stop us from burning the residue on the farm, they will be held hostage, the government can impose as many fines on them but we will not pay the fine," the local villagers of Bhatinda said.

Lashing out at the government's poor uptake to obviate the problem of stubble burning, the local farmers said, "They are compelled to set the stubble on fire every year. It is not their hobby to do all this. Farmers and their families get affected due to the stubble smoke first of all."

Earlier today, Delhi CM Kejriwal took responsibility for the stubble burning in Punjab.

"Pollution is not just Delhi's but entire Northern India's problem. The Centre has to come forward and take specific steps so that entire North India can be relieved from pollution. Air pollution is a North India problem. AAP, the Delhi government or the Punjab government are not solely responsible. Now is not the time for the blame game. There should not be politics over such a sensitive issue. I admit there is stubble burning in Punjab," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal hoped that lot lesser incidents of stubble burning would be reported in Punjab by next year and said that steps are being taken for it.

"Farmers are not responsible for it. They want a solution. The day they find the solution, they will stop burning stubble. If there is stubble burning in Punjab, our government is responsible for it. We take responsibility for it. We have been in the government for only six months which is a very less period. The Punjab government has taken steps. I hope the stubble-burning incidents will be much lesser by next year," he said.

The Delhi chief minister's remarks come after the national capital reported the air quality in the 'severe' category for the second consecutive day. (ANI)

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