The National Green Tribunal (NGT), which has fixed fines for farmers for burning agriculture waste, has asked the Delhi government and the four neighbouring states to inform it about the action plan to prevent pollution from crop burning after the harvesting season.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan governments to submit how the field staff of the departments concerned and the state pollution control boards are going to control pollution caused by crop residue burning.
“The counsel appearing for Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and NCT, Delhi would take clear instructions and place on record the effective steps that each one of them is taking to prevent crop residue burning after the coming harvesting season,” the bench said.
“Let the responsible officer from each of the states be present before the tribunal. It should be stated as to how field staff of the departments concerned and the pollution control boards are going to operate to prevent and control of pollution by crop residue burning,” it added, posting the matter for next hearing to March 22.
The NGT had earlier fixed the environment compensation amounts per incident of crop burning to be paid by small land owners having less than two acres of land at Rs2,500, medium land owners holding over two acres and less than five acres at Rs5,000 and those owning over five acres at Rs15,000.
It had also directed the state governments to take coercive and punitive action against persistent defaulters of crop residue burning and asked them to withdraw the assistance provided to such farmers.
The green panel had said the five states — Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi — which have issued notifications prohibiting agriculture crop residue burning should ensure that these notifications are enforced rigorously and proper action is taken against the defaulters.
The NGT’s order came on a plea filed by environmentalist Vikrant Tongad who had sought a ban on burning of agricultural waste and remnants in open fields.