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AAP Seeks 1 Year To Curb Punjab Stubble Burning, Blames Centre

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By: Alok Singh | NEW DELHI
Updated: November 4, 2022 13:54
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Amid a spiralling controversy over the rising pollution levels in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday took responsibility for continuous stubble burning in neighbouring AAP-ruled Punjab and sought a year to fix the issue.

Burning of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is blamed for high pollution levels in the national capital during winters.

“My government takes responsibility for stubble burning in Punjab, but farmers should not be blamed for it,” said Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann.

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Addressing a joint press conference with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Mann said that the issue of stubble burning could not be effectively tackled because of the insufficient time that AAP got in the state.

“The AAP came into power just six months back in Punjab. The government has taken certain measures but it needs the support of the Central government as well,” Mann told media persons.

With Kejriwal by his side, the Punjab chief minister promised a solution by next year.

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“We hope that we will be able to come up with a solution by next year. However, the Punjab government has taken a lot of measures but they are not enough because of the non-cooperation by the Centre and other state governments,” Kejriwal seconded Mann.

Kejriwal, who has in recent weeks faced the wrath of the opposition BJP over keeping silence on stubble burning in Punjab, said air pollution is not the sole problem of Delhi, but of entire northern India.

“It is a problem of north India. Many districts in Rajasthan and Bihar have recorded poor air quality. It is high time for the Central government to bring the states concerned together for finding a solution through a collective approach,” the AAP convener said.

Listing the measures taken by his government to curb stubble burning, the Punjab CM said that more than 1.2 lakhs machines have been given to farmers for stubble management.

“Farmers never want to burn stubble. They could get only two-week time between paddy harvesting and sowing of wheat this season. They had to manage the stubble in this short period. With no option left, they burnt the stubble for the next season of crops,” said Mann.

He also said that the Punjab government had suggested the Central government give some financial support of ₹2500 to every farmer so that they could effectively manage stubble. “But the Central government is not ready for it.”

“The Centre also did not give permission to companies willing to use stubble for generating energy. A bioenergy plant has recently been set up in Punjab. It has a capacity of picking up stubble from 47,000 acres of farms,” he added.

Meanwhile, CM Kejriwal announced the closure of primary schools for up to standard 5th in wake of rising pollution in the capital city. Senior classes will not hold any outdoor activities during this period.

Kejriwal also said that his government is considering implementing the vehicle rationing scheme, the Odd-Even plan, to tackle vehicular pollution.

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