Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Punjab and senior advocate, H S Phoolka, has hit out at the Arvind Kejriwal government for the heavy smog in the national capital saying that the Delhi government was blaming the state governments of Haryana and Punjab because it wanted to cover up its own failings just before the elections were due.
Phoolka said the farmers of Punjab must not be throttled by Delhi government trying to cover up its own failures. “Delhi government must think about all this. Instead of blaming the states of Punjab and Haryana, put your own house in order. This is very unfortunate,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Phoolka said that there were several measures which the Delhi government should have taken to control the pollution in Delhi but it had failed to do so and it was unfair to lay the entire blame on the doors of the farmers of the two neighbouring states.
“Kejriwal government is harping on failures of Punjab and Haryana governments because they are facing elections and do not want to talk about their failures,” he said.
“We cannot control the pollution caused by Diwali and we want that those poor farmers should spend Rs 4000-5,000 per head and starve their families for disposing off stubble by other means. In Delhi, we are unable to control construction activities or industrial pollution, pollution by the vehicles. We are still setting garbage dumps afire and we expect the farmers to take a hit on their earnings to control pollution for Delhi. These are double standards,” he said.
A former Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly, Phoolka said that the farmers of Punjab will go to jail but they will not pay the fines imposed on them for the simple reason that they do not have any spare money.
“Sangrur has seen the highest number of stubble fires in Punjab as per the report of The Indian Express in today’s edition. The MP of Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann, who is from AAP should explain why his constituency tops the list. The AAP MLAs of Punjab should explain to the Delhi people what efforts they have made to help the farmers in economic distress and to prevent the stubble fires,” he said.
Phoolka said that the pollution levels went up on Diwali because of the manner in which it was allowed to be celebrated. “The people of Delhi should also think that what kind of things we are doing while living in a gas chamber,” he said.
Stating that the farmers of Punjab and Haryana should not put paddy stubble on fire, the former MLA claimed that the farmers were forced to do so. “There is no doubt that the stubble burning should stop. But they are forced to do so because they cannot afford to spend huge sums of money for the disposal of the stubble,” he said.
Phoolka said that the Delhi government figures earlier blamed the stubble fires for causing 19 per cent of total pollution in Delhi. “Now it is being said that 30 per cent of it is caused by fires in these states. But mind you, these figures are also dodgy. But we want to punish these 30 per cent, but will let the other 70 per cent go scot free because it is election time in Delhi,” he said.