- Most Indians familiar with the North Indian topography, especially at the onset of the winter season, will not flinch one bit in acknowledging the yearly nuisance of stubble burning, that keeps repeating every year, undertaken primarily in the states of Punjab and Haryana. As a corollary, the state of Delhi’s pollution levels shoots up considerably, sometimes excruciatingly intolerable, leaving the entire citizens in the throes of dangers vis-à-vis health parameters. This is a yearly ritual the citizens of Delhi dreadfully despise but have no choice otherwise to remain unaffected.
Pc: The Economic Times
- As many of us are aware, the Central and Delhi Governments have been involved in addressing this repetitive menace in the right earnest by initiating several measures aimed at curbing the alarming pollution levels. Apart from advising the farming community of surrounding states and definite prodding from the Honourable Supreme Court, the Delhi administration had introduced indigenous initiative like odd/even number vehicles plying on the congested roads, phasing out of old diesel guzzling vehicles, encouraging carpooling, urging usage of public transport, etc.
- However, the major contributor to the pollution concerns continues to remain the unscientific stubble burning that reaches unprecedented levels as the winter approaches. This year is unlike any other year since the country is still reeling under the tremendous ill-effects of novel coronavirus induced hardships and challenges rendering us vulnerable in more ways than one. Rising pollution anxieties combined with the possible reemergence of infection spread could potentially pose extraordinary trials and tribulations not only on the people but also on the system.
- Reports suggest the satellite images indicating a threefold rise in Punjab farm fires as compared to last year, and the highest number of farm fires in four years amply mirrorsthe failure of governmental claims of remedial actions. Make no mistake, lopsided policy decisions pampering the farmers with power subsidies, and allowing unsustainable pumping out of precious groundwater to cultivate water-guzzling paddy in Punjab and Haryana is the biggest culprit. In a mad rush to commence Rabi sowing, the farmers opt for an easy method of burning stubble preparing the land for cultivation without worrying about pollution by adopting such a method.
Pc: The Indian Express
- As alternatives to stubble burning, many progressive initiatives viz. promoting the use of happy seeders, rotavators, mulchers, and other straw management technologies with 80 percent central subsidy has been unproductive mostly due to the diffidence of the farming community. The authorities are caught in a bind as the farming community cannot be treated even remotely resembling highhandedness that would be politically exploited by the opposing parties. Creating widespread awareness alone appears to be the logical option available for the authorities.