STUBBLE TROUBLE: Farm fires continue to rage in Punjab as AAP, BJP trade barbs

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann said that the BJP-led Central government was trying to politicise the issue of stubble burning and targeting farmers of Punjab because of their year-long protests against the now repealed farm laws.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Thursday, November 03, 2022, 12:20 AM IST
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STUBBLE TROUBLE: Farm fires continue to rage in Punjab as AAP, BJP trade barbs | File photo

Chandigarh: Even as the incidents of the stubble burning of the paddy residues crossed the last year’s count till date in Punjab, the issue assumed political overtones on Wednesday with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and opposition BJP attacking each other for failing to tackle the problem.

Reacting sharply against BJP’s charges that AAP government in Punjab had completely failed to control the stubble burning which had led to massive air pollution in the state, the chief minister Bhagwant Mann said that the BJP-led Central government was trying to politicise the issue of stubble burning and targeting farmers of Punjab because of their year-long protests against the now repealed farm laws.

BJP: Punjab made no progress as compared to Haryana

Interacting with newspersons on Tuesday, the BJP state general secretary Subhash Sharma had also held that despite the Central government providing 47 per cent of the total amount, it provided to states for preventing stubble burning, to Punjab, it had lagged behind. He held that the central government had provided Rs 1,143 crore to Punjab during the past three years and still the state had made no progress as compared to Haryana.

He further alleged a large number of machines bought for the purpose to prevent stubble burning had also remained unutilised which showed the indifference of the state government towards this problem that was suffocating Punjab.

CM Mann retaliates

However, Mann held that while the state government had asked the Centre to give incentives to farmers for not burning the paddy crop residues and promote biogas industry, the Centre had not agreed for the same.

Mann went on to allege that now the Centre was accusing farmers of the state for stubble burning which contributed to worsening air quality index (AQI) whereas similar incidents of stubble burning were also being reported from neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as well. Mann also held that the Centre was also repeatedly asking the state government as to how many cases had been registered against farmers for the stubble burning but was not coming forward to resolve the issue.

Total farm fire cases over 33,000

Meanwhile, according to reports, the farm fires continued to see a spike in Punjab as till November 1, 2020, the total cases of farm fires stood at over 33,000 while the same during the same period it was about 14,900 in 2021 and its count this year till November 1, totalled at 17,840.

According to the reports, the farmers unions were against the move of the government to check the stubble burning and the official teams were also not getting adequate support of local police to ensure the safety of officials visiting rural interiors to check farm fires, hence a huge number of farm fires.

It may be recalled that Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had also said on Monday that this year till October 31 only 1,925 incidents of stubble burning had been reported, which showed a decline in the incidents because of the efforts of the state government. ``If we compare Haryana with our neighbour Punjab, we are not even 10 % in terms of stubble burning cases that are being reported there. As per data, 13,873 cases of stubble burning have been reported in Punjab till October 30, 2022,’’ he held.

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