Chandigarh, December 10 (22G TV) Former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi to stop blaming farmers of Punjab and Haryana for being responsible for air pollution in the national capital even as she demanded the central government provide compensation to farmers to manage stubble.
Speaking in parliament today, Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal said it was astonishing that even after the ministry of environment, forest and climate change had asserted that stubble burning was not the major cause for air pollution in Delhi, the AAP government continued to defame the farmers of Punjab and Haryana on this score. “Studies have rather pointed out that stubble burning impact on the air quality in Delhi is negligible and that construction activities, industrial emissions and vehicular pollution is the major cause of air pollution in the national capital”.
Asking the Environment ministry to come out with a white paper on this issue to set the record straight and end the unfair targeting of farmers on this issue, Mrs Badal also demanded the centre give an alternative to farmers to phase out the practice of stubble burning. She said the Supreme Court had directed that farmers should be given Rs 100 per quintal to manage their stubble but it was three years and they had not been given one paisa to do so”. She said in direct contrast as many as 2000 cases had been registered against farmers for burning stubble in 2019 and they continued to be penalized.
In an eloquent address, Mrs Badal said even in Punjab where the earlier SAD led governments had done the most for farmers including creating a ‘mandi’ system to help them market their produce besides ensuring free power to them for agricultural operations, nothing was being done to provide alternatives to farmers to reduce stubble burning. She said during the previous SAD led government a project had been established to produce ethanol from stubble in Bathinda, but the Congress government had put the project in cold storage.
The Bathinda mp also spoke on how Punjab and Haryana had made the country self sufficient by being at the forefront of the green revolution. She said the farmers had paid a heavy price for this with the depletion of their water resources and currently faced drastic increase in their input costs. “Now these farmers are being defamed when the actual fact is that they are themselves victims of climate change which is affecting their productivity”. She called for finding a holistic solution to the issue by putting farmers first.