IN A surprise move, teachers have been deputed to control stubble burning by the authorities in Sirsa district of Haryana. A control room has been set up at Dabwali where the teachers would be doing duty in phases but round the clock.
The teachers’ body, however, has strongly opposed the move, stating that teachers should not be deputed for non-teaching assignments. Sirsa District Education Officer (DEO) Yagya Dutt Sharma has directed the block education officer (BEO) not to release teachers for the new assignment till he explains the issue to the deputy commissioner.
Dabwali Tehsildar (revenue officer) Vijay Mohan Syal on Wednesday issued an order regarding duties of 67 teachers. According to a copy of the order accessed by The Indian Express, Syal said strict disciplinary proceedings would be initiated if anybody was found negligent in duty. The DEO, however, said if the teachers were engaged in stopping stubble burning, then it would badly affect teaching work at schools. “We are already facing a staff crunch. In Sirsa district, out of the 1,800 sanctioned posts of lecturers, we have only 900 lecturers. We have only 36 headmasters against the sanctioned strength of 93. I will take up the issue with the deputy commissioner,” said Sharma.
Echoing similar sentiments, Wazir Singh, president of Haryana Vidyalaya Adhyapak Sangh, said, “Such tasks should be handed over to officials of the agriculture department or revenue department. We will send a memorandum to the government against the latest move.” In February, The Indian Express, quoting a study based on satellite data, had reported that stubble burning in Haryana was higher in 2016 compared to the previous two years. Recently, state Chief Secretary D S Dhesi had directed officials to launch a special campaign to generate awareness among people against burning crop stubble and deal strictly with those found doing so.
Dhesi said for the first time, the assistance of sarpanches of gram panchayats would be sought to make people aware of the disadvantages of burning crop stubble and they would be made answerable. He also directed the DCs to pay special attention to those villages, which had been reporting incidents of burning crop stubble for the last three years and send a report on them to the headquarters. Dhesi has also ordered the DCs of Sirsa, Fatehabad, Jind and Karnal districts to carry out a timely review.
Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department Principal Secretary Abhilaksh Likhi on Thursday said the department would provide grant on agricultural equipment for management of crop residues and the interested farmers have been asked to apply online.