Farmers alone should not be blamed for pollution, say MPs

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21

Cutting across the party line, lawmakers on Thursday demanded in the Lok Sabha for a “national action plan" to deal with air pollution while emphasising that farmers should not be blamed for the deteriorating air quality in Delhi as they are also the victims of climate change.

Participating in the discussion on ‘air pollution and climate change’, some sought for the integration of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

They unanimously said vehicles, dust, construction and industries, power plants too are responsible for poor air quality and it was wrong to blame farmers of the neighbouring states of Delhi for the current situation of polluted air, demanding to conduct a combined efforts by all ministries like environment, health and transport.

On the toxic air quality of Delhi, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor said there is a need for a national action plan to deal with the issue.

MPs in Rajya Sabha from the region Kumari Selja and Balwinder Singh Bhunder (SAD) unanimously said, it was wrong to blame farmers alone for the prevailing situation. Defending farmers, Selja said, “It is easy to blame them, but the issue is that we don’t have the technology to provide them alternatives and also we are not providing them incentives to avoid stubble burning.”

In such a situation taking criminal punitive action is not only unwarranted, but also burdening them with additional cost, they said.

On his part Bhunder too contested that blaming farmers alone would not serve any purpose. “From Amritsar to Mumbai, no where you can breath,” he said, while suggesting that the government should “link MGNREGA with farming and take steps to reduce industrial pollution”.

“Except this debate, so far, nothing has been given for the due recognition to the issue which it deserves. After and before Diwali the debate on the issue peaks up. But, it is a national issue, a perennial issue. It's a perennial problem we must solve together I would urge to work so that we can give our children a decent air to breath.” BJP leader and MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

‘Focus on crops’ 

"Farmers grow crops which leave stubble as they get minimum support price. If government announces a reasonable MSP on pearl millet and sunflower, farmers would be encouraged to cultivate it." —Bhagwant Mann, AAP MP

‘Need clean air law’ 

"A legislative framework be adopted to implement the National Clean Air Programme. It is not too late. It is a national crisis. It is extremely important that we understand the urgency of this issue." —Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP

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