It’s a well-known saying that politics is like dirty quicksand. Once you put your feet inside, there’s no coming out. And things get even worse and people go any length to keep their position intact. We’ve heard about killing family members, getting attacks organized, joining hands with goons, murder, hoax attacks, and whatnot just to stay in the game. And it seems that the political parties have once again decided to play with the lives of people.

Yes, we are questioning the ongoing problem that is choking everyone in North India – the air quality because of stubble burning. In our last issue, we discussed that farmers used to exercise the same farming methods five years back but we never noticed the same before. There has been a drastic shift in air quality since the past five years and the reason has been stubble burning. Apparently, farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been burning stubble after the harvest which deteriorates the air quality. But were the farmers doing something different a few years back? And why haven’t they been able to find a solution for the same in the last five years? Is the government so incompetent that it has not been able to find a solution? Why haven’t they learnt from the mistakes yet despite getting reprimanded by the National Green Tribunal? It’s certain that the political leaders of both the states have no will to tackle this year-on-year issue of air toxicity.

There was a campaign that caught a lot of light around the end of September that opposed the burning of crop residue. This drive was undertaken by Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) but was soon brought to a close just 10-15 days before Diwali. This all happened when Captain Amrinder Singh promised the farmers that they can burn the crop residue without any worry of getting case being registered against them as defaulters. And hence escalated the stubble burning which intensified the grey haze over the skyline.

What’s even more ironical is the fact that Delhi’s Chief Minister, who is the leader of Aam Aadmi Party had promised to curb the air toxicity this year. But AAP’s Punjab unit leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira seems to be against the party’s ideals. The leader got ahead and burnt the stubble in his Ludhiana farm to encourage all other farmers to burn the same. So, is vote bank important that the lives of people? They put the lives of everyone on stake just to keep the influential vote bank of the farmers intact. Offending them seemed scarier to the political leaders than polluting the air.

Even the Akalis have been supporting the farmers in burning of stubble. The only excuse they have for the same is that there is no particular solution offered to them and they have no other way to take care of the large quantities of the crop residue than burning it off.

Categories: Features