Centre has asked the Punjab government to take effective actions to stop further stubble burning in the remaining days of this harvest season. It said that responsibility should be fixed on district collectors and district magistrates, Senior Superintendents of Police and SHOs for ensuring that there is no further stubble burning. Sources said that Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting yesterday with Chief Secretaries and other senior officers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and NCT of Delhi. Based on the data provided by Commission for Air Quality Management, CAQM and the inputs provided by the State Governments, it emerged that the current crisis situation is majorly on account of stubble burning.
A total of 22 thousand 644 stubble burning events have been recorded from 15th September to 7th November, out of which 93 percent was in Punjab and 7 percent in Haryana. During discussions, it also emerged that harvesting is more than 90 percent complete in Haryana whereas it is 60 percent complete in Punjab.
CAQM has been asked to send out Flying Squads to Punjab and Haryana and submit daily reports on the incidents of farm fires and status of enforcement of directions of the Supreme Court by the DCs and SSPs.
During the meeting, Haryana government also informed about an incentive scheme being implemented by them for crop diversification to encourage farmers to shift from paddy to other crops. Punjab government was asked to launch similar schemes and announce them immediately so that stubble burning can be prevented in the remaining part of this year and next year.
Meanwhile, after the rap by Supreme Court on the stubble burning issue, the Advocate General, AG Punjab, Gurminder Singh has filed an affidavit on behalf of the state in the apex court. It is stated in the affidavit that the farmers of Punjab need to be provided with 30,000 to 40,000 machines. It said in the affidavit, for the purchase of machines, 25 percent funding has to be provided by Delhi, 25 percent by the Union Government and 50 percent by Punjab Government.