In a bid to motivate farmers of the state to use alternative ways to get rid of their crop waste, the Punjab government on Friday facilitated peasants in Pathankot who didn't burn their stubble. Deputy Commissioner of Pathankot said that these farmers used their stubble as fodder for their cattle instead of burning it. "We've decided to give Rs 2500 per acre to these farmers. There are 570 such farmers. I thank them all," the Deputy Commissioner said.
Stubble burning is a big problem in Punjab and Haryana and smoke emanating from that causes massive air pollution not just in these two states but also in neighbouring Delhi.
Recently, the Supreme Court lashed out at the authorities for failing to curb severe air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region and directed the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide support of Rs 100/quintal within 7 days to small and marginal farmers who have not burned their crop stubble -- a major source of air pollution.
Coming down heavily on the state governments, the top court said that if they don't bother about people, they have no right to be in power. "You (states) have forgotten the concept of welfare government. They are not bothered about poor people, this is very unfortunate," said the bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, told the court that farmers can be allowed to burn stubble with certain conditions. The Supreme Court completely rejected the AG's plea. It said this is a question of lives of crores of people. "We cannot allow this."
The AG had suggested to the court that Punjab and Haryana be divided into zones and each zone could be allowed to burn stubble in a few days. Justice Arun Mishra said why the government is not giving any better suggestion to deal with the problem. Burning the stubble is completely wrong. The AG of a democratic country cannot make such suggestions. "Why don't the Center and the state come together to find a solution."