Farmers in Amritsar continued to burn stubble on their fields even as neighbouring Delhi choked with Air Quality Index (AQI) remaining well over 400, in the "severe" category, on Tuesday.
Despite several weeks of rising pollution levels, farmers claim that the government has still not offered an affordable alternative to the problem.
"We are compelled to burn the stubble as we don't have any other alternative. We cannot afford the big machinery that the government offers as alternatives. The government should find a more concrete solution for this problem," said Jerman Singh, a farmer from Amritsar's Wadala village.
He suggested that the government should also set up an industry to produce something from the straw. "This way pollution can be reduced. Stubble burning, however, is not the only reason for pollution. Industries and vehicles contribute much more," he added.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Tuesday reported that the AQI in Delhi-NCR continued to remain in the "severe" category.
The AQI near Income Tax Office (ITO) in New Delhi was recorded at 469. It was 489 in Narela, 497 in Gurugram's Sector 51, and 480 in Noida's Sector 62, all in the "severe category", as per the CPCB.
Meanwhile, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the national capital was paying the price of the Centre's negligence as timely intervention by the government could have helped lower the pollution levels in the city.
Justifying the ban imposed on bursting firecrackers during the ongoing festive season in the city, Rai said that it was necessary amidst rising pollution during the pandemic.
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