The district administration on Sunday lodged an FIR against 25 persons from three villages of Noida for burning crop residue (parali) in their farmlands.
The burning of crop residue is a violation of National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act as it results in smog. The offence is punishable with a fine or an imprisonment or both.
The 25 accused in the FIR are farm owners, of Chuhadpur Khadar, Shafipur and Badauli Bangar villages, which are located near Noida’s Sector 150. The FIR has been lodged in Knowledge Park police station of Greater Noida.
The action comes after newly appointed district magistrate BN Singh asked officials to crack down on NGT violations. Recently, the administration also lodged an FIR against a farmer in Greater Noida for burning crop residue.
“We sent our lekhpal (accountant) to gather information about parali burning in these villages after receiving a tip. The lekhpal confirmed that the fire had been lit on purpose. We then visited the place and lodged an FIR against 25 farmers for intentionally harming the environment,” said Sanjay Kumar, tehsildar (Sadar), Gautam Budh Nagar.
A total of eight persons from Badauli Bangar village were named in the FIR for burning crop residue on 8.52 hectares. Seventeen persons from Chuhadpur Khadar and Shafipur villages were also charged for burning residue on 26 hectares of farmland.
“None of the accused are daily wagers working for landowners. We identified all 25 people as farm owners and then named them in the FIR,” said Kumar.
The action comes in the wake of worsening air quality across Delhi-NCR since last November when a thick blanket of smog had enveloped Delhi-NCR after Diwali. The air quality was marked severe.
Lakhs of people had complained of irritation in the eye and difficulties in respiration due to air pollution. Levels of finer particulate matter (PM2.5) had crossed the 900mpcm mark in some areas, 15 times the permissible limit of 60mpcm. Schools were shut for three days and all construction work in the region was halted as per orders from the state governments concerned.
Environmentalists had contended that the pollution was high due to the incessant burning of crackers during Diwali and burning of residual harvest by farmers of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
“Till now, we were trying to educate people against the burning of parali and other violations of NGT norms through newspapers and television. Now, the district magistrate has asked us to take strict action against the violators. We will continue to crack down on violators,” Kumar said.