Chandigarh: Even as the air quality continues to worsen across the region, Punjab and Haryana have engaged in a blame-game over the paddy straw burning incidence - one of the main reasons behind severe pollution in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).
Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal on Saturday took on neighbouring Punjab, also a major paddy state, highlighting the stubble burning incidence which severely affects the air quality index (AQI).
While Haryana has a BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP)-combine government, Punjab is the only state besides Delhi which has an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Reasons behind crop burning
Pertinently, the farmers opt to burn the paddy straw to clear off their fields as there is a very short period between paddy harvesting and sowing of the next crop - wheat.
Another reason for the farmers behind it is that unlike the straw management course, paddy straw burning does not cost them anything.
Dalal said on X (in Hindi) meaning that Haryana demanded water from Kejriwalji (AAP convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal) and Bhagwant Mannji (Punjab chief minister) and not smoke (caused by the paddy straw burning). Juxtaposing statistics in this regard, Dalal said that ``daywise burning events’’, in Haryana were 175 cases while Punjab had 5,140 cases since the past three days till November 3.
AAP hits back at BJP
This evoked sharp reaction from Punjab. The ruling AAP hit back at the statements of BJP leaders regarding stubble burning and air pollution caused by it. The AAP Punjab spokesperson Neel Garg targeted the BJP government of Haryana through the latest Air Quality Index (AQI) data and said that 20 districts of Haryana were among the 52 most polluted districts of the country.
He said that pollution in Haryana had reached dangerous levels and the chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was doing politics instead of making his state pollution-free. He said that instead of doing politics, BJP should focus on controlling pollution in Haryana.
At the same time, Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann had taken effective steps to stop stubble burning, due to which the number of stubble burning cases in Punjab had reduced significantly, he said adding that the Mann government arranged machines to handle the stubble and make biofuel from the stubble and continuously motivated people not to burn the stubble.
Garg also said that chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar should also take significant steps like Punjab chief minister to control pollution in Haryana.