Threat of crop-burning smog across North India, NGT to hear cases today

 The Green Panel had asked the Center and the Ministry of Agriculture to respond to its concerns regarding the threats posed to the environment by stubble burning.

Threat of crop-burning smog across North India, NGT to hear cases today

New Delhi: Concerned over thick smoke billowing from the farmlands of Punjab and Haryana causing smog over New Delhi’s skies at the onset of winters, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) will take up the cases related to stubble burning across the two states on Tuesday.

In the previous hearing, the Green Panel had asked the Center and the Ministry of Agriculture to respond to its concerns regarding the threats posed to the environment by stubble burning.

Smoke from bursting of firecrackers around Diwali is yet another reason behind the thick blanket of smog hovering over the skies in the national capital.
 
Importantly, the Punjab government had said that the Center was not helping it in controling the practice of stubble burning across the state.

The hearing in the NGT court will start at around 11 o'clock, according to reports.

The Green Panel had on Friday asked the Centre and the Punjab government to explain as to what steps it had done to tackle the issue of stubble burning.

The tribunal further directed the Punjab Government to draw up a list of power plants and other industries that can use the crop residue as a source of power.

The green panel also issued notice to the NTPC, which had projected that it will take the residue as a source of power and sought reply on the same.

On October 11, the NGT had asked the Punjab Government to present before the Tribunal, the 21 farmers who had benefited from the schemes rolled out by the government.

A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar asked the 12 farmers who were present in court whether they had genuinely received government help to tackle the crop residue.

Responding to queries from the Bench, the farmers stated that the Punjab government had provided them with adequate machineries and even collected the crop residue and put it in panchayat lands.

During the hearing, IG Kapila, who was appearing for the farmers, said that the problem lay with the implantation of the policies.

Ironically, despite a lot of hue and cry raised by the NGT, farmers in Punjab continue to resort to stubble burning. In its aerial surveys from September 27 to October 10, the state remote sensing department had recorded incidents of raging fires at 1,002 points. 

In 2015, the NGT banned stubble burning but looking at the scale of paddy sown all over Punjab, the state agencies are finding it difficult to curb the practice. 

Last year, a total of 2,414 cases of stubble burning were reported in the state.

With PTI inputs

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