Punjab farmers burn stubble, claim fire-crackers contribute to pollution too

Farmers in Punjab's Patiala on Thursday burned stubble stating that they have no other alternative.

Punjab farmers burn stubble, claim fire-crackers contribute to pollution too
Image Courtesy: ANI

Farmers in Punjab's Patiala on Thursday burned stubble stating that they have no other alternative.

The farmers added that celebrations during Dussehra and Diwali is the cause of pollution in the national capital. 

Adding that their loans have also been waived off by the government, the farmers said, "We have no alternative. The government has not even waived off our loans. Is stubble burning the only cause of pollution? Does crackers and celebrations during Dussehra and Diwali not contribute to it?"

Paddy growers of Punjab and Haryana have become "soft targets" as they are often blamed for causing air pollution in the NCR region due to stubble burning, farm experts said on Wednesday. 

The experts said penalising farmers without addressing their issues should not be encouraged.

"Farmers have become easy targets as they are blamed for causing air pollution in NCR region including Delhi," agriculture policy expert Devinder Sharma said.

"In Delhi, urban class will always blame the rural people. People in Delhi do not want to reduce pollution as they want to use cars and do not want to change their lifestyle," Sharma said, adding use of thermal plants was also one of the major reasons of pollution in the national capital. 

Echoing the expert's views, Punjab Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar said there were diverse reasons behind Delhi's air pollution. 

"Delhi's traffic is a major reason of air pollution. Paddy harvesting is just for three weeks. Therefore, it will be difficult to accept that pollution is only caused by paddy growers of Punjab," he said.

Punjab and Haryana are often blamed for rising air pollution and smog, caused by crop residue burning by growers. Punjab alone generates 20 to 22 million tonnes of paddy stubble annually.

Sharma was of the opinion that farm mechanisation was not a solution to the problem of stubble burning.

"The solution is not mechanisation. The use of machines (like happy seeder technique) could address just a minuscule scale of the (stubble burning) problem," he said.

Ealier on October 6, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union Balbir Singh Rajewal had said that farmers have no alternative but to burn stubble as they are not provided with proper machineries. 

"Why did NGT not consider the scientific angle of the matter that microbes and rats which are harmful to crops, won't be burnt now?" Singh added.

Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana Pradeep Kumar said that according to the available information, appropriate numbers of machineries have been ordered. 

Kumar said, "As per the information available with us, there was a requirement for 550 machineries and we have already ordered 540-545 machineries."

"350 machineries have been delivered & 290-300 subsidies have also been released," Kumar added.

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