Ludhiana: Despite orders against stubble burning, farmers in Punjab continue to do so, reported ANI on Wednesday. In Ludhiana’s Raul village, locals said they were small farmers and while the government had claimed it had dispatched machines but that hadn’t happened. That left them with no choice but to burn stubble. “What else will we do? Machines are very expensive and we can’t afford them,” said one of them. Also Read - Delhi Pollution: 'How Can You Let People Die Like This?' SC Fumes at Centre, State Govts, Seeks Report From CPCB

In Jaspal Bangar village that falls under Ludhiana, a farmer said, “If we prepare compost in the field with the help of machines, it’ll take 20 days. With stubble burning, it takes three days only. There are very few machines and we cannot afford either them or the diesel to run them.” Also Read - Air Quality in Delhi Improved in Last 3 Years: Prakash Javadekar to Rajya Sabha

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had extended his sympathies to the farmers of the state over the prohibition on stubble burning but he had asserted that the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) laws must be followed. Also Read - Token of Appreciation: Farmers Felicitated in Punjab For Not Burning Stubble, to Get Rs 2500 Per Acre

As autumn sets in, stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana deteriorates air quality in New Delhi and the neighbouring National Capital Region. This led to NGT’s call for stricter norms on stubble burning.

In a related development, the teaching fraternity of Punjab’s Gurdaspur district has demanded the withdrawal of the order which has directed them to carry out anti-stubble burning awareness, reported PTI. The government teachers, who have been appointed as nodal officers by the Gurdaspur district administration in their drive against crop residue burning, have sought withdrawal of the order, claiming they have been assigned villages which are “located at far off areas” and that the duties were clashing with their teaching schedule. Stating that the matter was being blown out of proportion, Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal said he will ask the concerned officers to withdraw the order as the administration does not want to carry out the awareness drive on a negative note.