New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday said Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh governments need to take urgent measures to assist farmers to prevent crop residue burning in their states which spikes pollution levels.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked the state governments to enforce the directions of the tribunal including providing machinery to poor and marginal farmers. The tribunal said that the crop residue burning causes air pollution and industries should help the farmers by way of corporate social responsibility.
The green panel was hearing the matter after taking note of a news report published in an English daily titled, “All fiddle as crop stubble burns, farmers say solutions out of reach.”
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The report claimed that crop burning shoots up the carbon dioxide levels in the air by 70 per cent. It said that every October, the air quality in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana plummets as farmers set the leftover stubble and loose straw on fire after paddy is harvested using combines.
It had also claimed that over the last two years, the central and state governments have devised a number of measures to prevent crop burning — from slapping fines on farmers to subsidising equipment that allow seeds of the next wheat crop to be planted with the stubble still on the fields.
The tribunal had earlier directed the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture to submit a status report within six weeks on providing infrastructural assistance to farmers to stop them from burning crop residue to prevent air pollution.
It had asked the official to take feedback from the authorities concerned on steps taken to enforce the directions of the tribunal including providing machinery to poor and marginal farmers. The Punjab government had earlier faced the wrath of the tribunal for not taking effective steps to provide financial assistance and infrastructure facility to farmers to encourage them not to burn agricultural residue in their fields.
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The green panel had said that three years had elapsed since its verdict in the Vikrant Tongad case, in which it had passed a slew of directions to stop crop burning, but the state government had shown a lethargic approach. It had said the Punjab government had also failed to tie up with any company, private or public, which could utilise the crop residue.
The tribunal had directed the Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh governments to convene a meeting to work out a clear mechanism on transportation and use of stubble as fuel in power plants.
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