With the national capital region bracing for choking smog, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on October 18 met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for compensation to farmers to discourage them from burning stubble and warned that the problem could aggravate if the matter is not addressed urgently.
The prime minister was sympathetic to the problem of farmers, said Singh, who is pressing for Rs 100 per quintal compensation to farmers to check stubble burning.
Singh told Modi that the problem of air pollution because of stubble burning could aggravate, despite steps being taken by the Punjab government, with the close of the harvest season, and needed to be addressed urgently.
The NCR region is bracing for smog due to stubble burning by farmers in neighbouring states, including Punjab and Haryana.
Delhi's air quality remained "very poor" for the second consecutive day Thursday. Several areas were nearing severe levels of pollution, authorities said.
Giving details of the meeting, an official spokesperson of the Punjab government said Singh also urged Modi to intervene to ensure settlement of the Rs 31,000 crore CCL (cash credit limit) gap and sought Centre's assistance for the preparation of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of first Sikh guru Sri Guru Nanak Dev.
He urged Modi to advise the Finance Ministry to settle the CCL gap on the principle of shared responsibilities.
Singh pointed out that the matter had been discussed in detail in the internal report of the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, referred as the PK Jha Committee Report.
Singh said the Union Finance Ministry, which was looking into the matter on a reference received from the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, was yet to finalise it.
He urged Modi to advise the Finance Ministry to reconsider and review the conversion of Rs 31,000 crore as long-term loan as it cannot be solely attributed to Punjab, given the principle of shared responsibilities.
Earlier in a letter to the prime minister, Singh sought Rs 800 crore in compensation for the losses incurred by the state due to the recent flooding resulting from exceptionally heavy rainfall, the spokesperson said.
Singh had informed Modi that the heavy rainfall in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, from September 22 to 24, caused extensive damage to life, agricultural crops, property and other infrastructure in the state.
The estimated damage to crops was Rs 150 crore, while road network had been damaged to the extent of Rs 119 crore, with another Rs 516 crore caused to flood protection infrastructure and minor irrigation works, the chief minister said.
Further, there was damage to the tune of Rs 5 crore to human population livestock and private residences, he noted in the letter.