- NGT And Delhi High Court seek response of Centre and states on the issue
- Green Court also asked governments to plan to provide machinery
- NGT had warned state governments earlier to curb stubble burning
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today said that “serious” burning of crop residue by farmers still persists and seeks response of the Centre and state government of both Punjab and Haryana on the steps taken by them to keep a check on stubble burning. The green panel also sought the response on how the government will provide proper machinery to farmers to address the problem. Along with this, the green panel also directed the Punjab government to submit a list of power plants and other industries which can use crop residue.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) into loop and sought a reply as to why it cannot take crop residue from the farmers under its “corporate social responsibility” for the “general cause of environment”.
During the hearing, the green panel also focused on the burial of crop residue and asked the states if it would benefit the soil in the long run.
Following the NGT’s direction, Punjab government produced 12 farmers which it claimed to have helped by giving incentives and infrastructural facilities to prevent them from burning crop residue in a bid to check air pollution.
During the proceedings, advocate I G Kapila, appearing for the farmers, referred to various newspaper reports and said that the problem was serious.
Delhi High Court also talked about the news reports that farmers in Punjab were threatening to burn crop residue if their demands were not met and sought a response from state government on preventive steps taken to curb the issue.
A bench by justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sunil Gaur directed the Punjab government to file an affidavit before October 16 ((that is over ,no?)) regarding the steps taken by it.
The NGT had warned the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that it would stop the payment of salaries of government officials if they failed to come up with an action plan to prevent stubble burning, which triggers heavy pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The court had on September 22 asked the states to stop stubble burning, saying “we cannot have another gas chamber situation”.
During proceedings, an application was moved by a lawyer, Haryan Singh Gahlot, claiming that stubble burning was not the sole reason for the poor air quality in Delhi during the winter months. Low winds, temperature inversion during winters, lack of eco-friendly public transport system and non-shifting of industrial units out of residential areas added to the poor air quality in the city.
He also claimed that a suitable alternative to stubble burning would be composting of the crop residue.