New Delhi: After hearing the response of chief secretaries of Delhi and three neighbouring states on the pollution issue, the NHRC on Saturday (November 12) said farmers cannot be blamed for the situation as they are forced to burn stubble due to the “failure” of the four state governments. Alarmed over the rise in pollution in Delhi-NCR, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had recently asked the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to appear before it on November 10 to discuss the matter.
The Commission has now raised several queries to the governments, while asking the chief secretaries concerned to submit their response or affidavits “within four days positively” and to remain present again either in person or hybrid mode on November 18 for the next hearing on the matter.
The Commission after considering the responses of the states concerned and the government of Delhi, and the deliberations thereon, is of the opinion that the “farmers are burning stubble under compulsion,” the NHRC said in a statement on Saturday.
“The state governments have to provide harvest machines to get rid of the stubble but they have failed to provide an adequate number of requisite machines and other measures; as a result, farmers are forced to burn the stubble, causing pollution.
“Therefore, none of the states can blame the farmers for stubble burning; instead, it is due to the failure of all four state Governments that the stubble burning is happening in the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and UP, causing enormous pollutants in the air,” it said.
Delhi’s air quality on Saturday remained in the ‘very poor’ category with the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at 311 at 9 am, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed.
The rights panel has asked the Delhi government to furnish details on several matters, including steps taken to control open burning, mechanical road sweeper machines, and mobile and static anti-smog guns deployed on various roads, with the date and places, and placed on high-rise buildings.
The NHRC said in the statement,
Out of 5,000 acres of farmland in Delhi, bio-decomposer was sprinkled free of cost by the Delhi government in 2368.5 acres of paddy only till 07.11.2022. Reasons for not sprinkling in the remaining area and within what time, the same will be achieved and the result of such sprinkling be also furnished.
Details on the 13 identified hotspots in Delhi and measures taken to keep the AQI (air quality index) within reasonable limits, as well as the emergency plan to tackle it; area-wise details of surviving trees which were planted, number of illegal industries running and closed, have also been sought from it.
Information on medical waste collection and details of action taken against hospitals that are dumping medical waste in any open area and a report on ‘Green Delhi Application’ and ‘Green War Room’ for public grievance redressal has been sought regarding how many grievances have been uploaded on ‘Green Delhi App’ and how many have been attended, the statement said.
From the government of Haryana, details sought by the NHRC include, among other issues, how many hotspots have been identified in villages and what steps have been taken to remove them.
It also asked about the outcome of Haryana State Pollution Control Board’s control room, at Ballabhgarh, the set up for redressal of air pollution-related complaints; steps taken for stoppage of construction activities and details of challan, if any; and how many inspections are being carried out to check emission norms compliance by the industries and action taken against violators, it added.
From the Punjab government, the details sought include reasons for the “shortfall in the purchase of the remaining CRM machines against the sanctioned machines”, details of bio-decomposer used, with the district, panchayat and area-wise details, dates and its impact be furnished; and date-wise fire incident from last year to as on date be furnished, the NHRC statement said.
From Uttar Pradesh, the rights panel has sought details including on time frame fixed for “setting up of 21 more Bio CNG/Bio Coal/Bio Briquettees/CBG/ 2G ethanol plants” and the outcome of directions for transportation of construction materials in covered vehicles, and “details, incidents of violation, supervision be furnished”, it said.
Date-wise details of streets where cleaning by mechanical method and spraying of water to suppress dust is done; as also how many unpaved roads exist, and potholes that have not been repaired and time frame to do needful.
It also sought details of how medical waste is being managed and action, if any, taken against the hospitals, dumping medical waste in open, and details of various steps being taken for the cleaning of river Ganga in the state, the statement said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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