HC asks neighbouring states to stop burning crop stubble
The Delhi high court on Thursday directed the top officials of four neighbouring states – Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan – to ensure that crop stubble burning is stopped in the states as it spikes air pollution in the national Capital every year during October-November.
A Division Bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Ashutosh Kumar said the Chief Secretaries of each of these states would be held responsible if the “law is not followed in letter and spirit” and sought a status report on the action taken on the issue.
“The state governments will have to submit a status report on the action taken to ensure that agricultural crop residue/ stubble burning is stopped,” the Division Bench said, adding that despite repeated orders by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the High Court, stubble burning was being carried out unabated. The practice is also banned as per the law.
The court noted that each year, Delhi is engulfed in a haze in the middle of October and it had increased air pollution in the city for several years, the “effects of which are felt by children and adults who develop respiratory problems”.
The court also asked the Delhi government to produce the air pollution data for the months of October and November and a comparison chart of this year’s data with the previous year.
The court’s direction came on a report submitted by the Delhi government, which stated that air pollution in the Capital increased every year around October and November due to burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states.
The court has been hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by it on the issue of air pollution in the Capital.
A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on ambient air pollution levels puts Delhi among the most polluted cities in the world.
The matter has been posted for further hearing on October 28.