Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said “farmers cannot be expected to give up crop residue burning completely”, till the time they are provided viable solutions.
Kejriwal and Khattar on Wednesday promised to jointly address the toxic smog situation that has beset the northern India.
“First of all we have to understand that our territories can be different but nobody has control over winds and when pollution has spread all over, all of us have to find a solution related to this,” said, Kejriwal, after holding a two-hour long meeting with Khattar.
“That is why it is important that the top political executive, from state to central, all of us need to work together and find a solution,” Kejriwal said while jointly addressing the media along with Khattar.
Echoing similar sentiments, the Haryana chief minister said the problem of smog has increased over the past two years and is a common concern now.
“We are trying to control pollution in our respective states and in the meeting, we have given each other suggestions regarding the matter. We all are very concerned about Delhi’s situation at the moment,” said Khattar.
Asserting that a long-term solution was needed to arrest the problem of crop residue burning, Amarinder Singh said the state government was looking for affordable solutions for this problem.
Notably, farmers of Punjab and Haryana have been blamed for the rising air pollution level in northern states including Delhi triggered by their stubble burning.
“We are engaged in spreading awareness among farmers on the need to stop burning the stubble, not just for the sake of others but also for their own sake, as they are the worst affected by the air pollution triggered by such burning,” Amarinder Singh told PTI in an interview.
“However, till we are able to offer them viable solutions, we cannot really expect them to completely give up burning crop residue since it’s a matter of their livelihood and survival,” he added.
After Kejriwal sought a meeting with the Punjab chief minister; the latter refused saying the Supreme Court was already hearing petitions regarding the air pollution. He urged the AAP national convener to refrain from trying to “politicise” such a serious issue.
However, the Punjab chief minister has been pressing hard for intervention of the Centre to convene a meeting of chief ministers of the affected states along with the Union ministers for agriculture, food and environment to find out a long-term solution to stubble burning issue.
Amarinder Singh had even suggested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal as an incentive to farmers so they can manage the crop residue scientifically.
In the national capital, the content of particulate matter, PM 2.5, in the air has been quite high, often crossing 500, while the safety limit is 50. The PM 2.5 is responsible for respiratory problems and reduced visibility.