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Delhi Smog: AAP Punjab blames industrial and vehicular pollution

12 November 2017

While Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he wanted to meet his Punjab counterpart Capt Amarinder Singh to know how much money would be needed to change the practice, Singh said his meeting with Kejriwal would not resolve any issue.

"There is 20 million tonne of paddy straw in Punjab".

Singh even called Kejriwal a "peculiar person with views on everything but no understanding".

Responding to Kejriwal's letter, Amarinder ruled out a meeting, saying any discussion among the chief ministers would serve no meaningful objective because only the Centre was equipped to address this grave issue with inter-state implications.

He said farmers were "helpless" and were forced to burn crop stubble as the state governments had failed to provide them with alternatives.

This follows the two CMs had slugged it out on Twitter on Wednesday.

"The burning of stubble in Amritsar and Gurdaspur doesn't reach Delhi". Both of us together can urge centre.

It also directed the states to demonstrate the crop residue management machines at farm fields using the Rs 132.5 crore funds allocated to them for this goal under the Sub- Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation for the current fiscal.

Meanwhile, Punjab CM has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking compensation for farmers to check the unsafe trend of stubble burning. Blaming the three sides for politicking over it and not addressing the problem by planning for it through the year, he said, "This happens every year at this time". This could be released by way of direct benefit transfer (DBT) to farmers after due verification.

Pointing out that the current pollution crisis was largely triggered by the burning of paddy straw in the paddy-growing areas of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Singh appealed to the prime minister to order a probe on priority and announce a plan for crop-related compensation at Rs. 100/- per quintal on wheat (above MSP), and later for paddy to incentivise farmers not to burn crop residue. The higher courts of the country and the National Green Tribunal have also taken cognizance of the matter, said Amarinder.

Delhi Smog: AAP Punjab blames industrial and vehicular pollution