Punjab Throws Environment Under The Bus To Win Farmer Votes
Punjab – With New Delhi finding it difficult to breathe yet again in a season where stubble burning has been seen as the main reason for air pollution, Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi has revoked all the FIRs made against farmers in the past year.
Punjab has apparently seen some 70,000 incidents of farm burns so far. As a move towards winning a vote bank, Mr. Channi announced this after holding a meeting with leaders of 32 farmers’ unions and BKU (Ekta Ugrahan). He also agreed to the majority of the demands laid down by farmers.
Stubble burning has been recorded at its highest this year. The cumulative fire count for Punjab till November 16 have stood at 74,015, higher than the 72,373 recorded in 2020. Stubble burning satellite images show the numbers have been highest since 2016. Delhi is choking under the smoke that is travelling from Punjab and Haryana, but the CM is busy encashing the opportunity to win the trust of his vote bank, it seems.
Channi, a Dalit leader under the banner of Congress has used this opportunity to trump up his rally towards the forthcoming state assembly elections. He would like to ensure that his counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh does not get a leave way into this million-dollar opportunity.
Among other key demands accepted by the CM, apart from cancellation of FIRs for stubble burning, where increasing the compensation for pink bollworm-hit cotton growers, expediting payment to paddy growers whose land records have not been uploaded online and granting jobs to heirs of farmers who died during the farmers’ protest.
Stubble burning remains banned due to health-related issues but states like Punjab flaunt the ruling and filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court expressing its sincere effort to dissuade farmers from burning stubble, but that it would rather throw the ball in the Centre’s court, screaming for help. The state says that it would need funding from the Centre with the kind intervention of the Supreme Court to persuade for funding support of Rs. 1,500 crores to set up 300 MW biomass power projects in the state, for sustainable disposal of stubble than burning it in the first place.