Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have flown off to Goa for a private visit on the recommendation of the former’s doctors, who are of the opinion that the tremendous levels of air pollution in Delhi-NCR will go a long way in aggravating her asthmatic and chest conditions. As such, the mother-son duo, at a time when there are increasing voices within the Congress calling for introspection over the embarrassing Bihar loss of the party, have paid serious attention to medical advice and flown off to South Goa.
If only Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were to show as much diligence on the issue of stubble burning in a state ruled by their party – Punjab, them having to escape the gas chamber that the national capital region has become wouldn’t be necessitated. The indifference of the Congress high command, complemented with the fact that Captain Amarinder Singh is doing almost nothing to prevent stubble burnings in his state has made lives miserable for those living in Delhi and surrounding areas. A stern nudge from Sonia Gandhi would have perhaps made Captain work, and bring the menace of stubble burnings under control.
However, Congress, like on all issues which matter, is indifferent to the phenomenon of stubble burning as well. While BJP-ruled states have drastically brought down cases of farmers’ burning stubble, the Congress government of Punjab has miserably failed at even keeping the levels of such anti-human activities in check. What else explains a 240 per cent rise in farm fires in Punjab this year compared to last year? As per a report by the Union government, “There were 14,326 cases in three states between October 1 and 23, which are distributed as 11,796, 1,944 and 586 in Punjab, Haryana and UP, respectively.”According to the report, in Haryana, stubble burnings decreased by 30% from 2,806 last year to 1,944 this year. In UP, they decreased by 33% from 879 to 586 while in Punjab, they increased to 11,796 from 4,889.
The Congress government in Punjab has also proven to be a disaster when it comes to the distribution of certain machines to farmers provided by the Central government in order to create an alternative for burning stubble. As on October 23, against the target of 27,000 machines, Punjab has distributed 14,000 machines (52% of target) alone, way behind states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Why did Sonia Gandhi not ensure that Captain Amarinder Singh diligently implements all measures required to significantly reduce cases of stubble burning, thereby not choking citizens of Delhi and surrounding areas? As fate would have it, such is the severity of the pollution in Delhi due to the Congress government in Punjab simply refusing to do anything about farm burnings, Sonia Gandhi has herself been forced to move out. At least now, the Gandhis should bring Captain Amarinder Singh and his government to task.