70 per cent reduction in stubble burning in Punjab this season between October and November: Minister

Punjab [India], November 22 (ANI): Hitting out at the Haryana Chief Minister over the issue of stubble burning, Punjab Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that the latter should “stop politics” and should “stand” with the farmers.

His response came after CM Khattar said that the Aam Admi Party-ruled Punjab has not allegedly “paid much attention” to the crop burning residue, and “the State government should adopt the measures taken by his government as noted by a Supreme Court bench a day earlier”.

Speaking to ANI on Tuesday about the issue of stubble burning, Minister Cheema said, “This time, the number of stubble burning cases has increased the most in Haryana. There was a 70 per cent reduction (in stubble burning) in Punjab this season between October and November.”

“Haryana CM Khattar should stop doing politics on this and should stand with the farmers. Why is the Centre not helping farmers?” the Punjab Minister added.

CM Khattar further said that his government was providing every kind of help to the farmers to stop stubble burning. “I thank the farmers for stopping burning crop residue,” CM Khattar said, pointing out the measures taken by his government to address the issue.

Lashing out at the Delhi Chief Minister for making political statements over the issue, CM Khattar added: “These are not the topics of politics. The CM of Delhi should also understand this. The political statements made by him are not appropriate.”

The Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested that the farmers who engage in stubble burning be deprived of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) benefits as a part of the economic repercussions of their actions.

The top court was hearing a plea related to rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Punjab should also take a cue from Haryana in the manner in which financial incentives are given (to farmers to refrain from crop residue burning), the bench suggested.

As many as 984 FIRs have been filed against landowners for stubble burning in Punjab and environmental compensation amounting to more than Rs 2 crores has been imposed of which Rs 18 lakhs has been recovered, the bench noted, asking the government to clarify the money it collected through the fines imposed.

The apex court also called on the Centre and state governments to rise above politics and find a way out of crop residue burning.

Special Director General of Police (Spl DGP) Law and Order Arpit Shukla, who is also a state Police Nodal Officer to keep a check on stubble burning on Monday once again “urged” farmers to “cooperate” and “not put matchstick on crop residue”, “which is dangerous for the environment as well as for the health of children”. (ANI)


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