Stubble Burning – How Haryana Acted While Punjab Government Remained Indifferent to Delhi’s Suffering

stubble burning

As Delhi is experiencing hazier skies with each passing day, loaded with polluted air, the only question that gets louder is that who is responsible for this fate that comes every year in the months of October to December! There is a general tendency of people to blame the entire system and politicians in this context. However, the first step in finding a solution to any problem starts with specifically zeroing on that problem, finding out its causation and dealing with it on the ground.

The True Picture in its recent article, Is Congress-Ruled Punjab Responsible for Delhi’s Pollution?, dealt with such specifics by presenting the fact that how stubble burning in Punjab is majorly responsible for Delhi’s air pollution. The same article presented the NASA satellite imagery to exhibit that most of the stubble burning cases emanated from Punjab, while Haryana, where extensive stubble burning used to take place before, is quite successful in containing it this time. Punjab has miserably failed to control stubble burning this time again. The data clearly showed that the number of fire incidents in Punjab is 734 percent more than the number of fire incidents in Haryana.

Haryana Shows the Model Where Punjab Lags far Behind

Is stubble burning such an unavoidable act? If BJP-ruled Haryana can contain this problem, then what makes Congress-ruled Punjab be indifferent about this and the air pollution issue in Delhi? When we searched for an answer to this, we came across quite a few media reports which helped us to understand the ground realities. Putting them together we made some observations, which are as follows:

  • Haryana giving us hope that stubble burning can indeed be controlled, assuring Delhi to breathe easy this season.
  • Examples emerging from Haryana suggest that if the state government offers initial assistance, farmers are ready to walk that extra mile to adopt all the technology and means that help towards environment-friendly stubble disposal.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated on a number of platforms that any government scheme or effort becomes successful when it involves people’s participation or Jan Bhagidaari. What we see in the case of Haryana in the context of stubble disposal is an active participation of people, which became possible only when the trust of people on their government is high.
  • It is undesirable to contain stubble burning with only punitive action. Media reports indicate that Haryana followed both punitive as well as rewarding ways for farmers and finally succeeded.
  • The Congress-ruled Punjab seems lost in all the above contexts!
Two States - How They are Reflected in the Media Reports

This ground report published in The Indian Express on November 4, 2018, certainly reflects poor management on the part of Punjab government.

In contrast to this, with another ground report published in The Hindustan Times on November 2, 2018.

In the month of October this year, First Post published a series of ground reports which also made the point that while Haryana prepared itself to handle the stubble in an eco-friendly way, Punjab farmers have not been provided with the alternative means.


How did Haryana succeed?

Various media reports from the past two months gave us a picture that Haryana prepared itself wisely to contain the menace of stubble burning with both the administrative measures and farmers’ participation in place.

  • The reports suggest that Haryana did very well in providing the necessary instruments to farmers through subsidies which dissuaded them from stubble burning and going in with more environment-friendly ways.
  • In the second week of September this year, Haryana government told Supreme Court-appointed environmental panel that it has been able to meet nearly 80% of the target that the state had set to provide agricultural implements to farmers to control the practice of stubble burning.
  • State Government has been vigilant and on an incessant campaign to discourage farmers from stubble burning and the decision of honoring the farmers who stay away from large-scale stubble burning is also being publicized on a large-scale.
  • Custom hiring centres ensuring proper management of crop residue, where the farmers can hire necessary equipment were set up across the state.
  • Haryana explored the alternative means such as diverting stubble to Gujarat and Rajasthan for packing idols and composting. Many farmers are reaping benefits from making rope from paddy residue. Thus, stubble has become an extra earning for farmers, making them even more contented.
  • In an exemplary model of people’s participation in fighting the pollution, a village in Haryana stopped carrot farming as a second-time crop as it needed burning the paddy residue to clear the field.
  • Panchayat members of Haryana villages have played an active role in spreading awareness among the farmers about the ill-effects of stubble burning.

Haryana has evidently shown the way of doing away with the nuisance of stubble burning. Their model indicates that this can be achieved with proper administrative measures in place, along with the thrust of people’s participation. However, only if the Congress-ruled Punjab can also follow this model, Delhi’s air pollution problem every year will possibly be relieved.