Singh suggested that half of the cost of these machines could be subsidised by the Punjab and Delhi governments, and the other half could be subsidised by the Union government. This would ensure that the Happy Seeder machinery could be made available to the farmer free of cost.
The top court seemed to agree with this suggestion and said that when the central government provides so many other subsidies, there is no reason why this cost should not be borne by it.
The Punjab government went on to suggest that paddy cultivation in the state must be phased out and that the Union government should explore the aspect of providing a minimum support price for other alternative crops, such as maize.
The paddy crop has not only contributed to stubble burning, but it has also lowered the water table in Punjab to the point where many wells are said to have gone beyond redemption.
The court observed that the problem is persistent because of the particular type of paddy that is grown and the time period in which it is grown. The sowing of paddy, which is not a local crop and is not consumed locally, is the basis of the problem, it said.
The court highlighted that switching over to alternative crops is necessary so that this problem doesn’t come up again next year. This can only occur when the minimum support price is provided for alternate crops and not paddy.