The Punjab and Haryana High Court fixed July 18 for hearing a petition filed in public interest for directing the Union of India and the authorities concerned to provide an alternative crop as per quality of soil, land and geographical location.
Directions were also sought to replace paddy by fixing the minimum support price for the alternative crop higher than MSP for paddy, because it was depleting drinkable underground water which might lead to “land subsidence” and emerged pollution at the time of burning of paddy straw.
In the petition placed before the Bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli, advocate Charanpal Singh Bagri also sought directions to carry out research with advance techniques to find which crop might be produced in the state and in which season.
Some of the alternatives would be sown in the States “Till now there is no reason to be worried, however, if rainfall does not pick up by the end of June or early July then there could be some signs of worry. We are therefore putting in place an alternate plan to help farmers,” The cultivation of crops like hybrid maize, urad and sesame could start sometime in late july and early August ; while that of khesari dal or grass pea can start as late as in September-October.