The government should purchase crop residue as it procures wheat and paddy at minimum support price (MSP) to address the issue of stubble burning, one of the causes of air pollution, JD(U) MP Ram Nath Thakur suggested in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The government should buy crop residue in the same way it purchases wheat and rice from farmers at MSP, he said, adding that this will not only help in reducing pollution, but also provide financial relief to farmers. BJP member Vijay Pal Singh Tomar suggested that stubble can be used in manufacturing of ethanol.
He also said efforts should be made to ensure 10 to 15 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol, which will help in environment protection and saving foreign exchange. The government has mandated mixing of 10 per cent ethanol in petrol, but only about six per cent is being mixed currently.
Meanwhile, three Congress MPs demanded that the central government buy rice from Chhattisgarh.
Chhaya Verma, Motilal Vohra and P L Punia mentioned in the House that rice from the state is not being purchased for the central pool as Chhattisgarh is buying at a higher MSP of Rs 2,500 per quintal against the MSP of Rs 1,815 per quintal announced by the Union government.
The Centre should relax norms and buy the grains at the MSP announced by the state government as part of its goal to double farmers' income, they said. The Congress, which is in power in Chhattisgarh, had promised the higher MSP to boost farmers' income, according to them.
BJP's Shwait Malik said people living within the 5-km area from the India-Pakistan border in Punjab are facing problems in getting employment and education. He demanded a special fund to provide infrastructure, education and job opportunities to them. In his Zero Hour mention, A K Selvaraj of the AIADMK raised the issue of adulteration and contamination of food products.
Two TMC members Md Nadimul Haque and Manas Ranjan Bhunia highlighted the plight of people affected by Cyclone Bulbul and demanded that the central government extend help in providing relief to those affected.
DMK leader Tiruchi Siva suggested that Tamil should be made the official language of the Madras High Court.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu agreed with the suggestion, saying the language in high courts should be that of the state.
Another Congress member Mohd Ali Khan asked the central government to intervene so that the ongoing strike by employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) can be ended. In his mention in the House, Prasanna Acharya of the BJP expressed concern on incidents of acid attack on women. He termed such incidents as the most "heinous gender violence".