Delhi has been turning into a gas chamber around the second week of October since for the past 6-7 years. People have been breathing the ‘filthy’ air, as termed by India’s friend Donald Trump, and blaming the farmers, government, and whatnot for not taking any initiative. But isn’t this apparent? We live in the 21st century where every problem can be solved either by technology or any other way. So why hasn’t the issue of the toxic air due to stubble burning been addressed and more importantly resolved.
The Punjab government, as stated by the spokesperson hasn’t been able to take care of the issue this year due to lack of funds. They promised that the same would be taken care of this year but nothing happened. And thus started the mudslinging. People from different political groups kept blaming the other party for the lack of management on the stubble burning and its consequent pollution.
Last year itself the Supreme Court ordered the parties in power at Punjab and Haryana to provide monetary compensation of Rs 100 per quintal to farmers to take care of their stubble before the harvest season. But nothing of this sort was done. The Punjab and Haryana governments blamed that they did not receive the required funds to carry on with the payment stating that the funds did not reach them due to the COVID-19 situation and the economic crisis.
And things don’t stop there. The government even subsidized the cost of the seeder equipment for uprooting the stubble. However, the combine owners complain that they haven’t received any subsidy. Punjab government has also been facing wrath of the combine owners after they started protesting for installation of a seeder equipment that uproots stubble. Farmers can’t buy that because the equipment costs Rs 1.5 lakh. Government on the other hand, says they have subsidized the equipment but in reality none of the combine owners has received any of it which led to the anger and mistrust towards the government.
And the blame game continued even after all of this. The government tried to put the blame on the Delhi government for the pollution level rise in Delhi. Prakash Javadekar said that only 4% of Delhi’s pollution is caused by stubble burning, freeing the central government from any responsibility of the lack of funds. This mudslinging definitely needa to stop and there has to be found a solution for this pollution a big cause for this is definitely stubble burning. How would you explain the AQI level rise in the remote areas of Himachal Pradesh like Lahaul. There are no industries in such regions that can be blamed for causing pollutants.
An environmentalist in Punjab said, “The issue of stubble burning does not exist for 11months but the issue of industrial pollution in Ludhiana is prevalent, the water has become poisonous in the city but no one wants to address the big fish aka industrialists.”
Instead of blame games, both the governments of Punjab and Haryana need to find a solution for the same. There should be incentive given to farmers for using combine harvesters that uproot from the seeds. Moreover, such harvesters should be provided at a much lower cost so that farmers can purchase them without getting burdened by debt. Another way could be to offer benefits or incentive to the companies turning the residue for use.