In order to control pollution levels, the Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the top officials of the neighbouring states to ensure a prohibition on crop stubble burning. Burning of crop residues is one of the major contributor to air pollution in Delhi from October to Novemeber.
A bench comprising justices B D Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar warned that it could hold chief secretaries of the respective states responsible if the “law is not followed in letter and spirit.” While making it clear to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the bench said that theey had to stop stubble burning since it raises pollution levels int he national capital.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of air pollution in the national capital and had asked the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab about their action plan to stop the practice of stubble burning.
“Every year we grapple with the menace of haze due to stubble burning. It (burning of crop residue) may have already started as you can see haze in the early morning. It will hit us and the situation will get worse. It will even become difficult to breathe.
“We are taking a serious view on it this year. NGT has been asking them (states) to take action, but nobody is doing anything. If you do not hit now while the iron is hot, the situation in Delhi will become worse,” the court said.
The bench also added that stubble burning is not permissible under the law, however “difficulty lies in implementation” as “despite orders of NGT and this court, this practice has gone unabated and year after year and Delhi has been engulfed in haze, constituents of which are aerosols from stubble burning and dust”.
Expressing hope that the law and court orders would be followed in letter and spirit, the bench directed the four states to file status reports with regard to action taken by them to ensure stubble burning practice is eliminated.
“We are not interested in your responses but the action taken,” the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on October 20
Stubble burning is undertaken by farmers to clear the field before sowing the next crop after Diwali.