CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has initiated action against as many as 2,923 farmers in the state for stubble burning till November 1. The state government has so far received 20,729 cases as against 50,000 cases of stubble burning received last year, with more than 70 per cent paddy harvested already. This apart, the state also expects more than 10-20 per cent decline in such cases this year as compared to 2018.
Despite the High Court having stayed the recovery of fine from farmers penalized last year, the state government has intensified its drive against the dangerous practice of stubble burning, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said.
Even as he expressed the hope that Prime Minister Modi will understand, and respond positively, to his letter on the grave issue of the worsening Delhi air pollution, Amarinder said his government has fully seized the problem and was working committedly to put an end to stubble burning.
The Enforcement Teams had, till November 1, 2019, visited 11,286 fire incidents sites, and Environment Compensation amounting to Rs 41.62 Lakh had been imposed in 1585 cases.
Also, Red Entry made in Khasra Girdawaris in 1136 cases, and prosecution and FIRs are filed in 202 cases against the defaulting farmers.
The process of verifying the remaining fire incidents and levying of environmental compensation was being expedited, said the Chief Minister, adding that the Punjab Pollution Control Board had also imposed Environmental Compensation of Rs. 62 lakhs on 31 Combine Harvesters operating without Super SMS.
Compensation by the central government was the only solution in the circumstances, he said, adding that the matter was not one of politics, but “a question of the future of our people, which goes beyond politics.”
The ball was totally in the Centre’s court since most state governments were bankrupt, with his own state reeling under massive debt, Amarinder said, adding that the fiscal
situation was linked to GST, which had aggravated their economic problems.
While admitting that Punjab was also contributing to the Delhi smog, due to the westerly upper winds, including those coming from Pakistan, Amarinder said, to put the blame entirely on his state was “absolutely incorrect.”
Statistics showed that the parameters on the factors relating to pollution were higher in Delhi, he added.
Instead of addressing the problem, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was playing political games, he said, asking what was the AAP president doing on the ground to resolve the issue.