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Pollution still remains despite fall in stubble burning incidents after govt steps: Tomar

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The problem of air pollution "unfortunately" still persists in the national capital despite a fall in stubble burning incidents after the launch of a central scheme, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Monday.

Asserting that stubble burning alone is not responsible for pollution, he asked the state governments to identify other causes for the rising pollution and take measures.

Delhi-NCR has been engulfed in a thick blanket of smog since the Diwali festival on October 27.

In 2018, the Centre had launched a new scheme to help farmers in neighbouring states to buy farm machinery to switch to cleaner methods of getting rid of the crop residue.

"Stubble burning alone is not responsible for pollution. To address this issue, the Centre has already started a scheme under which farmers of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are being provided subsidy," Tomar told reporters after laying the foundation stone for the construction of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) in Pusa Complex here.

Machines are being provided in villages and "there has been reduction in stubble burning. Its contribution to pollution has also come down," he said and urged the neighbouring state governments to create more awareness among farmers and implement the central scheme.

"I have written to the state chief ministers for proper implementation of the scheme. I hope state governments will do," he added.

When asked farmers are being held responsible for pollution in Delhi, Tomar said: "Neither one person nor one class is responsible for pollution. To get rid of pollution, everyone should think and work seriously."

There is a need for the state governments to take measures to contain pollution. "In this direction, all are trying but unfortunately the problem still remains," he added.

On the Punjab chief minister's demand to incentivise farmers to stop stubble burning, Tomar said, "I don't agree with what Captain Amrinder (Singh) says. The whole world knows what happens if subsidy is given unless there is no solution for stubble clearance."

The central government is giving subsidy to buy farm machinery under a scheme. If the Punjab governments thinks subsidy will help in reducing stubble burning, let the state government implement it in one or two places and show the success, he said.

In the current fiscal, the Centre has released Rs 248 crore, Rs 175 crore and Rs 97.54 crore to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, under the scheme.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 04 2019. 17:30 IST