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Stubble burning: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann defends farmers, blames Centre

Stubble burning: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann defends farmers, blames Centre

Stubble burning: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann defends farmers, blames Centre
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By CNBCTV18.com Nov 2, 2022 5:27:00 PM IST (Published)

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann accused the BJP government of holding a grudge against the farmers of Punjab due to their protest against the now-withdrawn farm Bills.

Amid unabated stubble burning in Punjab, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has charged the BJP government with playing the blame game against the farmers of the state. In a video address on Wednesday (November 2) Mann pointed out the AQI figures of the cities with the worst air quality, most of which are in Haryana and asked why Punjab and Delhi are the only states blamed for the poor air quality.

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“Why blame only Delhi and Punjab? Have other places become Switzerland?” he retorted as he presented the AQI figures in different cities.
In the address, Mann also accused the BJP government of holding a grudge against the farmers of Punjab due to their protest against the now-withdrawn farm Bills. He said the Centre is simply blaming the farmers of Punjab without considering their condition and the situation in other states.
He said the farmers of Punjab don’t want to burn stubble, but they have no option. The Centre refuses to pay them the minimum selling price (MSP) or offer any solutions to manage stubble and then asks the Punjab government to encourage farmers to stop stubble burning, he said in Punjabi.
He added that machines worth Rs 1.2 lakh have been distributed and ads and announcements were released at panchayat levels regarding stubble burning. However, there is little to no option provided to farmers, so they are helpless.
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Earlier, CM Mann launched an eight-point programme to curb stubble burning in the state and called upon the officers to implement it in a result-oriented manner. He also said that he will personally review the efforts in all the districts to check stubble burning.
Despite the efforts, Punjab has repeatedly failed to stop or control stubble burning. Even this year, incidents of farm fires are on the rise. According to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), there were 2,131 farm fires in Punjab on Monday (October 31), which is the highest so far this season. On Sunday about 1,761 incidents were reported and on Saturday 1,898 incidents were reported.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) also said there has been a "significant" rise in stubble-burning incidents in Punjab compared to last year.
Between September 15 and October 26 this year, Punjab reported a 9 percent rise in farm fires, while Haryana recorded a 26 percent decline in the same period.
The air quality in neighbouring Delhi has also deteriorated and as per reports, stubble burning in Punjab accounted for 22 percent of the national capital's PM 2.5 pollution.
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