Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of stooping too low by indulging in ‘pollution politics’, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday said the saffron party’s anti-farmer and anti-Punjab stance was exposed as it hated Punjabi farmers. They raised banners against draconian farm laws.
“Out of 32 cities in north India, only three cities in Punjab have a poor Air Quality Index (AQI), but the BJP and the Center have lashed out at the state’s hardworking and resilient farmers, blaming them for the environmental menace”, it said. In a video statement given here today, Chief Minister Dr.
Mann said it was ironic that farmers in Punjab who played a major role in making the country self-reliant in food production were being blamed for burning paddy straw while the BJP turned a blind eye to poor AQIs in other states.
He questioned the BJP’s silence on the worst Air Quality Index (AQI) in Faridabad, Manesar, Gurgaon, Sonipat, Gwalior, Indore and other states where the saffron party is in power.
Mann said this reflects the anti-farmer and anti-Punjab mentality of the central government and the BJP. The Chief Minister said the main reason was that the BJP hated the farmers of the state who campaigned against the Black Farm Act.
In retaliation, he said, the BJP is bent on insulting the state and its farmers. Mann said that it is surprising that the BJP and the central government continue to blame Punjabi farmers for environmental pollution, ignoring their huge contribution to the national food pool.
The Chief Minister reminded the Center that it had submitted a solution to paddy stubble burning by offering a collective financial assistance of Rs 2500 to farmers for paddy stubble burning.
He, however, said that instead of accepting the proposal, the Center refused to bail the farmers. Mann said that a large number of investors wanted to set up bio energy plants in the state to provide an effective solution for paddy straw management.
The Chief Minister, however, said that unfortunately the Center has created obstacles by refusing to allow the installation of these trees. He said that the Punjabi farmer is totally sensitive about not burning paddy straw as he knows it will adversely affect his family.
Mann said armchair economists sitting in air-conditioned offices in Delhi are not offering solutions to farmers but are constantly humiliating them with false accusations of paddy burning.
The Chief Minister clearly said that since this is the problem of the entire North India, the Prime Minister must call a meeting to find a solution to this problem.
He said it is a confusing situation that Punjabi farmers are food producers as long as they are supplying paddy to the national pool but they are being condemned for a trivial matter after the collection is over.
This is an insult and injustice to Punjabi farmers which is completely unjustified and uncalled for,” Mann said.
The Chief Minister said that Punjabi farmers want to avoid the practice of burning paddy straw but the Center has no solution to offer them. He asked the BJP and the Center not to threaten Punjabi farmers by asking them to file FIRs against them every day.
Mann said that instead of threatening Punjabis, farmers should show a way to deal with this problem efficiently.