Delhi Pollution: Delhi AAP opposes, while Punjab AAP supports crop-burning
Contrarily, AAP's Punjab leader Sukhpal Khaira has been burning stubble in support of farmers.
Why this, now?
AAP Delhi and Punjab differ on stubble-burning views
Kejriwal wants meeting with Manohar Lal Khattar and Amarinder Singh
Kejriwal sent letters to Haryana CM Khattar and Punjab CM Singh requesting a meeting.
In the letter, he lamented that schools had to be shut to save children from the poor-quality air.
He added that Delhi has become a "gas chamber."
Moreover, he said "farmers are helpless." They are forced to burn stubble because government failed to provide any economically viable alternative.
But, what is the Punjab AAP leader's stand?
AAP's Sukhpal Khaira, also opposition leader in Punjab Assembly, while earlier leading a farmer protest had assisted in setting fields afire.
He opposed the government's decision to book farmers for burning stubble. He said the government had failed to carry out the National Green Tribunal's directives regarding crop burning.
He urged the government to compensate farmers for ploughing the paddy stubble into the fields.
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Is this a difference of opinion within AAP?
Khaira disagrees that this is a difference of opinion within AAP. He stated that AAP's Punjab unit was an autonomous one and they had to protect the interests of the state's farmers.
He contended that they also had different opinions regarding the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal's water being supplied to Delhi.
He added that "Insofar as Delhi government is concerned, their stand is also right."
Meanwhile, what is the alternative to crop burning?
Crop residue/stubble is burnt due to the short time-gap between summer and winter crops. Further, cost concerns and lack of equipment to cut the stubble force farmers to burn about 35mn tonnes of stubble.
NGT asked government to compensate farmers for manually cutting the paddy straw instead of burning it.
Thus, Punjab government had sought Rs. 2,000cr from the Centre to compensate the farmers.
Kejriwal and Singh also debate the issue on Twitter
CMs Kejriwal and Singh debated the matter on Twitter with Singh reiterating his stand that a resolution is possible only through Central government's intervention.
He lamented that Punjab is "helpless" as they don't have the money to compensate the farmers.
Kejriwal agreed that the Centre should intervene but requested Singh to share estimated cost so that a joint-plea can be made to the Centre.
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