New Delhi: As the pollution in Delhi-NCR threatens to increase in the coming days, the Punjab state government in a statement to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that crop burning in the state has dropped by 30 percent this year in comparison to last year.
Earlier this month, the Punjab government was slammed by the green body for not incentivising the farmers or assisting them to manage the crop residue, estimated to be around 35 million tonne, which is consistently being set ablaze by farmers to make up for the short window between winter and summer crops.
"There were 14,432 cases of stubble burning this year, while in 2016 there were 22,269 cases," the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) told the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar.
The Tribunal has also sought clarity from the central government over incentivising the farmers against crop burning.
Earlier this month, the Punjab government sought Rs 2,000 crore as financial help from the central government to support its farmers by removing paddy straw from the fields to avoid its burning.
The NGT had earlier fixed the environment penalty amount 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.
Crop burning in neighbouring states directly impacts Delhi's air quality that continues to deteriorate.
The NGT had in 2015 asked Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to curb this practice and later asked them to incentivise small farmers to manage the stubble.
(With IANS inputs)