Stubble burning down by 30% in Punjab, National Green Tribunal told
The National Green Tribunal has been prodding Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to come up with an action plan to prevent stubble burning, which triggers heavy pollution in Delhi-NCR.delhi Updated: Oct 31, 2017 12:25 IST
Stubble burning in Punjab has dropped by 30% this year as compared to last year, the state pollution control board (PPCB) on Monday told the National Green Tribunal.
The PPCB told a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that there were 14,432 cases of burning of crop residue this year as compared to 22,269 cases in 2016.
The green panel has been prodding Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to come up with an action plan to prevent stubble burning, which triggers heavy pollution in Delhi-NCR.
During the brief hearing on Monday, the tribunal issued fresh notices to the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) as to why it cannot take crop residue from farmers under its “corporate social responsibility” for the “general cause of environment”.
Advocate Naginder Benipal, appearing for the PPCB, told the tribunal that not a single case of crop burning has been detected in Kalar Majri village, which has been adopted as a model project to sensitise farmers, in Nabha Tehsil of Patiala district.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 8.
The green panel had earlier said “we expect no individual, body, department, panchayat, associations to directly or indirectly recommend or promote burning of crop residues in Punjab, UP and Haryana”.
The tribunal had said the “serious” issue of stubble burning by farmers was still going on and had sought the response of the Centre as well as the Punjab and Haryana governments on the issue.
It had earlier asked for names and details of all power houses and biomass-based energy plants which can use crop residue for power generation.
It had directed Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab governments to provide a detailed strategy of how happy seeders (machines to sow wheat without burning of paddy crop residue) or balers can be given to farmers.
The NGT had on October 11 directed Punjab to produce the farmers before it after the state claimed to have provided assistance to some of them to encourage them not to burn crop residue.
The tribunal had taken exception to the fact that even after more than two years, nothing substantial was done with regard to stubble burning.
The Punjab government had earlier said it had taken Kalar Majri village in Nabha Tehsil of Patiala district as a model project for implementing the directions of the NGT and to sensitise the farmers.
Earlier, the NGT had also asked Punjab to look into the problems faced by the farmers and directed its counsel to seek instructions on whether compensation could be provided to them for disposing their agricultural residue while giving them liberty to engage any agency of their choice.
It 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 the action plan to check stubble burning.