Paddy growers of Punjab and Haryana have become "soft targets" as they are often blamed for causing air pollution in the NCR region due to stubble burning, farm experts said Wednesday, as they pitched for incentivising growers for the management of crop residue.
The experts said penalising farmers without addressing their issues should not be encouraged.
Steps like crop diversification and investments in producing bio energy with paddy straw can help tide over the issue, they suggested.
A dialogue between farmers, policy makers and farm experts on farm-related issues, including stubble burning, was held here.
He said holding only farmers responsible for pollution was "biased thinking".
"In Delhi, urban class will always blame the rural people. People in Delhi do not want to reduce pollution as they want to use cars and do not want to change their lifestyle," Sharma said, adding use of thermal plants was also one of the major reasons of pollution in the national capital.
"Delhi's traffic is a major reason of air pollution. Paddy harvesting is just for three weeks. Therefore, it will be difficult to accept that pollution is only caused by paddy growers of Punjab," he said.
Sharma was of the opinion that farm mechanisation was not a solution to the problem of stubble burning.
"The solution is not mechanisation. The use of machines (like happy seeder technique) could address just a minuscule scale of the (stubble burning) problem," he said.
"If we can give Rs 40,000 crore for paddy procurement, why can't the Centre give Rs 200 per quintal asbonus to growers for managing crop residue? Sharma said, adding Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MNREGA) funds can also be used in dealing with the stubble burning problem.
The experts also blamed the government policies of pushing paddy cultivation in Punjab which was initially a maize growing state.
"In a short period, farmers want to sow wheat after harvesting paddy so that the crop yield does not dip. If yield drops, subsequently his income will also drop and he does not want to let this happen. If we cannot improve his livelihood, then we must sustain his standard of living," the Punjab chief principal secretary said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)