By Jag Mohan Thaken:
Amid the dismal and dark figures of stubble burning in Punjab, creating health problems not only limited to the Punjab periphery but even to the adjoining national capital, there emerges a ray of hope from the Punjab government’s ‘Ghar Ghar Hariyali‘ programme to counter pollution effects.
Every year, about 7 to 8 million metric tonnes of paddy residue is burnt in the fields by the Punjab farmers. Injurious toxic chemicals, which result in respiratory and other health problems, are released into the atmosphere as a result of this.
As a punitive step to curb stubble burning, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed to impose fines on farmers involved in stubble burning. The NGT had fixed a fine slab of ₹2,500 for two-acre land and from ₹5,000 to ₹15,000 for land measuring above two acres.
But seeing how these measures were not very successful, the Punjab government has initiated a new positive campaign in the form of ‘Ghar Ghar Hariyali’ to combat the pollution effects. The purpose of the campaign is to provide clean and fresh air to the people of Punjab as well as contribute towards having a green and clean environment. This programme will increase the green cover in the state.
Under the campaign, every citizen of the state would get three and every household 10-15 saplings of varied types free of cost. Therefore, during 2018-19, the people of Punjab would get 20-25 lakh saplings absolutely free with four to five lakh households being covered in the current year.
“The Forest Department, Punjab, has planned a specialized campaign to plant maximum saplings and increase green cover in the state.” Disclosing this here on June 14 , the Forest Minister, Punjab, Mr. Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said that in pursuance to the ‘Tandarust Punjab Mission’ of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Forest Department has chalked out a special campaign called ‘Ghar Ghar Hariyali’ which would see the distribution of free saplings throughout the state to increase forest cover.
Minister Dharamsot further added that during the special campaign under ‘Mission Tandarust Punjab’, various types of natural saplings having medicinal properties as well as fruit bearing capacity such as Sheesham, Neem, Arjun, Harad, Behra, Anwla and Jamun would be supplied to the people.
The minister also exhorted the people to come forward to plant more and more saplings so as to ensure a clean, green and healthy environment for the present and future generations. He also solicited the cooperation of all to make this campaign a grand success and said that to have a healthy and robust lifestyle is the catchphrase of ‘Mission Tandarust Punjab.’