NGT warns Delhi’s neighbours over stubble burning
As air pollution in Delhi-NCR is touching critical high, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday pulled up the neighbouring states for being unable to curb large scale burning of crop stubble.
Directing Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to comply with its earlier order in the matter, the green court directed them to file affidavits detailing steps taken by them for its implementation. The court had asked them to take coercive and punitive action against those who burn agricultural waste.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said joint affidavits should be filed by the respective states’ agriculture and environment secretaries.
It stated that the report should also mention their future action plans, besides incentives given to farmers in return of crop residue taken from them for alternate purposes.
“In the event of non-filing of affidavit, the concerned secretary should be present before the tribunal on December 2, the next date of hearing,” the bench said.
The details should also include number of equipments purchased by states to dispose of agriculture residue from the fields, challans issued to defaulter farmers, the amount recovered from them, steps taken on media advertisements to educate farmers on the issue, the tribunal order and other relevant factors, it added.
During the hearing, advocate Naginder Benipal, appearing for Punjab, told the bench that the Union environment secretary has convened a meeting of UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana on November 3 to decide the issue.
The NGT’s order came on a plea by environmentalist Vikrant Tongad who had sought a ban on burning of agricultural waste and remnants in open fields.
Last year, the NGT had 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 Rs 2,500, medium land owners holding over two acres and less than five acres at Rs 5,000 and those owning over five acres at Rs 15,000.