AAP leader and Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday said free spraying of bio-decomposer will be ensured in Punjab to curb crop residue burning if his party forms government in the state. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the main opposition party in Punjab, where assembly elections are slated for next year.
Farmers cannot be blamed for unrestrained crop residue burning in neighbouring states as it is the governments there which have failed to provide an alternative, Rai said.
The share of farm fires in Delhi's pollution rose to a three-year high of 48 per cent on Sunday, and on Monday, government agencies reported 5,450 farm fires, the highest this season, in neighboring states of the national capital.
"Farmers are not at fault. Any statement against them does not make any sense. The governments had to provide a solution. We have shown (how stubble burning can be curbed) in Delhi. Other states lack the will to do it," the environment minister said
"We will ensure free spraying of bio-decomposer in every field in Punjab if we form a government in the state ... like we did in Delhi," Rai told reporters in response to a question.
He had earlier told PTI that Punjab, which generates around 20 million tons of paddy straw annually, will become free from crop stubble burning if the AAP forms government in the state.
The Delhi government has made arrangements for free spraying of Pusa bio-decomposer, a microbial solution which can turn stubble into manure, over 4,300 acres belonging to 844 farmers in Delhi. Last year, 310 farmers had used it on 1,935 acres of land.
In Punjab, paddy is cultivated in 2.814 million hectares. According to officials, Uttar Pradesh is using the bio-decomposer in 10 lakh acres of area, Punjab in five lakh acres, Haryana one lakh acre this year.