Stubble burning discussed in Rajya Sabha: Pratap Singh Bajwa urges Centre to give financial aid to farmers

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday expressed concern over stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana causing environmental and health concerns in the National Capital Region (NCR).

An Indian farmer burns paddy husks after a harvest in Chandigarh. Reuters

An Indian farmer burns paddy husks after a harvest in Chandigarh. Reuters

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa raised the issue during Zero Hour and sought financial help for farmers to prevent stubble burning.

"Stubble burning is a concern and the pollution occurring due to it is of great concern which is affecting the health of the people. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also taken a note of it," he said.

Seeking financial support for farmers, he sought help from the Central government.

"Even NITI Aayog has said the cost to stop stubble burning may touch Rs 11,000 crore. A few days ago, Sri Lankan cricket players refused to play due to air pollution. Was it not a national shame for us?"

"It is an important issue. Our National Capital Region is not even worthy to stay. From prime minister to president, many foreign dignitaries also live here. You need to give Rs 200 per quintal during the harvesting season of paddy and Rs 11,000 crore is not such a big price to pay," Bajwa said.

Another Opposition member sought to know if the government was planning to train the farmers so that the problem can be resolved.

"It happens every year. Is this government considering any training programme for the farmers on how to burn it without causing concern for the environment?" he said.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said it was a serious issue and needs to be discussed.

Each year, Punjab and Haryana generate an estimated 30 million tonnes of paddy straw, which is later set afire and is believed to be a major contributing factor to air pollution, especially over north India.

Farmers burn down the stubble that remains after wheat and other grains are harvested. This is done to get rid of the residue left after harvesting, while also cleaning weeds from the field.

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Updated Date: Dec 19, 2017 16:00 PM

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