SC Constitutes One-Member Committee to Monitor Farm Fire Pollution

A one-member committee was constituted to monitor farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

2 min read
A one-member committee was constituted to monitor farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. File Photo used for representational purposes only.

A one-member committee was constituted to monitor farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh causing air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by environmental activists who demanded steps be taken to stop stubble burning, the committee headed by Justice Madan B Lokur was constituted. A report will be submitted after the Dussehra holidays.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde ordered that all authorities in Delhi and Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority will report to Justice Lokur Committee, reported Hindustan Times.

“We are concerned that citizens of Delhi and NCR should breathe good, clean air,” said the bench stated, noting that preventive measures need to be put in order immediately.

National Cadet Corps, Bharat Scouts and Guides and National Service Scheme can be deployed to carry out the surveillance of the fields, Hindustan Times reported.

State chief secretaries have been asked to provide assistance to the Lokur committee and arrange for infrastructure, transportation and security.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing Uttar Pradesh and Haryana asked the court to continue monitoring by EPCA. The bench refused to change its order, stated the media report.

44% of Delhi Air Pollution Due to Stubble Burning

Earlier this month, Prakash Javadekar flagged off 50 inspection teams of the Central Pollution Control Board for field visits in Delhi-NCR to keep a watch on pollution hotspots during the winter season. The air quality has already hit 'very poor' levels.

There have been several accusations that states are not doing enough to contain farm fires.

Satellite images released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) showed the city’s air quality may further deteriorate owing to consecutive stubble burning incidents.

Data from the Delhi government showed that stubble burning accounted for 44 percent of the city’s air pollution in 2019, reported Hindustan Times.

The Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), an autonomous government body in Ludhiana, has already recorded 2,873 cases of stubble fires between 21 September and 12 October 2014. In the corresponding period in 2019, 755 cases were recorded and 510 cases in 2018.

Amritsar has been leading the chart with 1,111 fires followed by Taran Taran (655), Patiala (251), Gurdaspur (166), Ferozepur (115), Kapurthala (86) and Sangrur (81).

The Punjab government has claimed to have subsidised 23,500 crop residue machines this year and appointed 8,000 nodal officers. However, farmers claim government support has been insufficient and they haven’t received cash incentive, reported Mongabay.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times, Mongabay)

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