Punjab, Haryana, Centre should give specific deadlines for stopping stubble burning: Arvind Kejriwal
Dismissing the suggestion that stubble burning was alone responsible for deteriorating air quality, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said burning crop residue contributed only 18-20 per cent to air pollution.
Replying to a debate on the governor's address in the Haryana Assembly, Khattar told the House, "Stubble burning issue was raised here. I know this problem has become such that one cannot speak much here or there".
"Nobody would want that pollution should be there. Two days back, there was hardly any district in Haryana where Air Quality Index was below 400 mark. But to say stubble burning alone is responsible, it is not like that," he said.
Khattar said stubble burning contributes only 18-20 per cent to air pollution and 80 per cent impact is due to "other factors".
The air pollution in Delhi-NCR towns hovered between "severe" and "very severe" categories on Tuesday, two days after it had triggered a public health emergency in the region.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered an immediate and complete ban on stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The air quality index in Delhi dropped to 331 on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. In the National Capital Region, Greater Noida (348), Noida (358), Ghaziabad (351), Faridabad (311) and Gurgaon (328) also recorded improvement in air quality.
An AQI between 301-400 is considered 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' or emergency category.
Khattar claimed that incidents of crop burning in Haryana have significantly come down over the past few days and the situation was much better now.
"As per NASA satellite imagery and Haryana Space Applications Centre, the (stubble burning) problem looks very little in Haryana," he told the House.
He said that between September 25 and November 2, 4,341 active crop fire locations were detected and most affected districts were Kaithal, Karnal, Fatehabad, Ambala, Sirsa, Yamunanagar, Palwal and Kurukshetra.
Khattar said that government was providing facilities to farmers so that they don't burn stubble. He said his government distributed 10,000 machines last year and 15,000 machines this year on 80 per cent subsidy.
Several opposition members, including Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said that farmers were being defamed for the hike in pollution levels.
The Congress leader said that a viable solution to the problem needs to be found rather than blaming farmers alone for the problem.
Farmers should be given bonus on paddy to wean them from burning crop residue.
"Abusing and blaming farmers for this (pollution) is not right, he said.
Congress MLA Raghuvir Singh Kadian said "there is a deep-rooted conspiracy to defame farmers by accusing them that pollution was caused by their stubble burning".
INLD's Abhay Singh Chautala suggested that waste decomposer liquid, which converts stubble spread on an acre of farm land into compost, may be cost effective but lamented that farmers won't be able to sow another crop for two months as it would take too much time for stubble to turn into compost.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)