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Sympathies with farmers but law is law: Punjab CM Amarinder on stubble burning

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October has once again seen several days of high pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas with experts pointing the finger at stubble burning in Punjab farmlands. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh said on Monday that while he understands the compulsions of farmers, they must abide by the law against such burnings set by the National Green Tribunal.

The burning of stubble in Haryana and Punjab have repeatedly been cited as one of the major reasons behind Delhi and the National Capital Region choking each year. Air quality here deteoriates to alarming levels with PM 2.5 and PM 10 breaching the WHO’s ‘safe’ standard several times over. And while the NGT has strictly prohibited such crop stubble burning, instances of farmers lighting up are on the rise this year as well. “My sympathies are with the farmers, but law is the law and the law must take its course,” said Amarinder Singh on Monday.

The Punjab CM has previously written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he sought Rs 100 per quintal as compensation for farmers who do not burn stubble. In addition, both Punjab and Haryana governments have claimed that they have introduced several incentives for farmers who wish to buy machinery for proper stubble disposal. Out in the fields though, the measures seem to have gone up into thin, toxic air.