States should take responsibility: NGT

Panel says steps taken are inadequate

While observing that steps taken by State governments to curb stubble burning have been inadequate, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that States should own responsibility to prevent air pollution just like enforcing law to prevent other crimes.

The observations came while a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was hearing a plea seeking remedial action against air pollution caused due to stubble burning in the NCR States.

“Just like enforcing law to prevent other crimes, the State has to own responsibility to enforce law to prevent pollution. States are not doing this effectively. States must take appropriate action against failure of its officers for preventing pollution caused by crop burning. The strategy could be creating awareness, giving incentives or taking punitive action,” the Bench observed.

While stating that every citizen has a right to pollution-free environment, the Bench added, “It is unfortunate that the States have failed to perform its duty and have merely pleaded helplessness on the ground that whatever action was possible have been taken. Even in five years if the State machinery is not able to communicate to the farmers concerned, the techniques of sowing crops without is an unhappy situation which needs to be remedied.”

The green panel added that among other steps, States should ensure successful communication with farmers, effective prevention of fire, supply of suitable equipment without unbearable cost for the farmer and use of labour by panchayats under the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

“Linking of failure to demand more subsidies from Centre is not justified. States have to come out with enforcement or other strategies, including further incentives, if any,” the Bench said.

Earlier, the green panel had directed the constitution of special cells in the offices of Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to monitor the air pollution caused due to stubble burning on a daily basis.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 3:35:24 PM |

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