Delhi HC asks Punjab about preventive steps taken for crop burning

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Punjab government about the preventive steps it was taking after news reports that farmers in the state were threatening to burn crop residue if their demands were not met.

The court asked Punjab government to file its response by October 16 on steps taken to prevent stubble burning, a practice which begins in the month of October and continues up to January, during which the air quality of the region, especially of Delhi, deteriorates.

On September 22, the high court had issued directions to the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop stubble burning.

Lawyer Hargyan Singh Gahlot on Friday moved an application before the court claiming that no study has been carried out by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to show linkage between stubble burning by the neighbouring states and pollution level in Delhi.

As per Master Plan 2021, the major cause of pollution in Delhi was vehicular traffic and industries and government has failed to tackle both, he argued.

The government has failed to comply with a 21-year-old direction of the Supreme Court to shift manufacturing units and polluting units from non-confirming areas of Delhi, he said, adding: “On the contrary, more and more manufacturing units are coming up in non-confirming areas.”

The application further said that the government has failed to restrict sale of vehicles in the capital, which has highest density of vehicles.

The lawyer said the ban on stubble burning was not serving any positive purpose neither to improve environment nor good for agriculture and also suggested converting agriculture residue into organic manure.

“The government has set aside Rs 48,000 crores for its rural employment guarantee scheme in 2017-18… NREGA guarantee 100 days employment to each rural household. It is submitted that composting activity perfectly fits into NREGA,” he said.

Gahlot filed an application in the ongoing case the high court has been hearing against increasing air pollution in Delhi.

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