With winter round the corner, Delhi prepare to tackle soaring pollution levels that cover the city’s sky with a thick layer of smog due to paddy straw burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said the Centre has turned down the state government’s proposal of contributing to the cash incentive to farmers for not burning stubble.
The state government had proposed to give Rs 2,500 per acre to paddy growers. It suggested that the Centre pay Rs 1,500 per acre while Rs 1,000 per acre will be borne by Punjab and Delhi governments.
Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is one of the reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November as farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato.
Punjab generates around 20 million tons of paddy straw annually.
In a video message, Punjab CM Mann on Saturday said, “We had written to the Centre that it should help us over the issue of stubble burning.”
“But the Centre has turned down our demand,” said Mann.
He, however, added, “It does not matter. If the central government is not supporting then it does not mean we will not do anything.”
Mann said he has asked his officers to come up with another idea to check the problem.
Sharing some data related to stubble burning, Mann said paddy is sown over 75 lakh acres. Farmers over an area of 37 lakh acres manage stubble through crop residue management machines or other measures, he said.
Mann said the government is arranging machines at a big scale for the rest 38 lakh acres. More than one lakh crop residue management machines will be made available this season for managing stubble, he said.
Under the in-situ management (mixing crop residue in soil) of paddy stubble scheme, the Centre provides funds for supplying subsidised machines for management of crop residue.
With PTI inputs