Punjab didn't spend a penny from central funds to check stubble burning

Punjab didn't spend a penny from central funds to check stubble burning

If the amount was adequately utilised, the problem of stubble burning in fields may have receded.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to arrive in Chandigarh on Wednesday to discuss the issue of worsening air quality in and around Delhi largely on account of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, in a letter to Kejriwal on Monday, indicated Punjab's "failure" to utilise central funds.

The letter states: "Punjab did not spend a penny out of its allocation of nearly Rs 98 crore meant for crop residue management."

Also, Khattar patted himself, stating that Haryana spent Rs 39 crore of the Rs 45 crore released for the purpose.

While Kejriwal is scheduled to meet Khattar on Wednesday, on Tuesday he sought a meeting with his Punjab counterpart Capt Amarinder Singh.

It is learnt that the Punjab government utilised the Centre's allocation to pay salaries of government employees.

Interestingly, the number of cases of stubble burning has gone down this year in Punjab.

Of the over 42,000 cases of stubble burning recorded till November 11, the cases of crop residue burning in the corresponding period last year were far in excess of 76,000, according to the state pollution control board.

Stubble burning is prohibited in the two states, yet the problem is widespread.

Authorities in Punjab, a source said, have also gone soft on erring farmers because Singh had recently advocated against any strong punitive action that could hit the debt-ridden farmers.

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