Chandigarh, Nov 6 (PTI) Facing criticism over "rising" farm fires, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema Monday said most stubble burning incidents are being witnessed in BJP-ruled Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
He claimed that such cases have declined in Punjab as the AAP government has provided crop residue management machinery to paddy growers to check stubble burning incidents in the state.
There was a significant decline in the number of crop residue burning incidents in the state this season, Cheema told reporters here, replying to a question on Punjab being blamed for high air pollution in Delhi.
He also said that farmers were being asked not to set paddy straw ablaze, adding that strict action was also being taken against erring growers.
“There was a 56 per cent decline in the number of stubble burning incidents this season in Punjab,” he asserted.
Alleging that Punjab is being blamed for air pollution under a “conspiracy” by the BJP, Cheema claimed that most stubble burning incidents are taking place in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. He also asked the BJP-led Centre to provide funds to these states to manage the stubble.
Meanwhile, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Monday said that burning of stubble and pollution caused as a result is a very serious problem and there should be no politics on this issue. According to an official statement, Vij said every problem has a solution and everyone should try to solve this problem.
Vij said the facts and figures speak "loud and clear regarding how much stubble is being burnt in Haryana in comparison with Punjab. Satellite imagery are also giving a true story. But the AAP leaders do not believe in any statistics." He said that when the AAP did not have a government in Punjab, "then Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal used to blame Punjab for the pollution". "Now, as the AAP has a government in Punjab, Delhi and Punjab together blame Haryana for it," he said.
He questioned the AAP leaders, stating that they should also provide an answer as to why the pollution level in Delhi is higher than in Haryana.
On Saturday, Haryana Agriculture Minister Jai Prakash Dalal had slammed the Punjab's Bhagwant Mann government over the stubble burning incidents in the state.
"We have demanded water from (Arvind) Kejriwal ji and Bhagwant Mann ji, not smoke of paddy stubble,” Dalal had posted on X.
Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is considered one of the major reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November. As the window for wheat -- a key rabi crop -- is very short after paddy harvest, some farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue for sowing of the next crop. PTI CHS SUN VSD KVK KVK