Stubble burning: NGT seeks status report on action to curb pollution

‘Ministry failed to comply with previous orders seeking report by April 30’

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of Agriculture to furnish a status report on the remedial action to be taken for curbing air pollution that results from stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Noting that the Ministry had failed to comply with previous orders that had sought the report by April 30, a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “Before taking coercive measures, we give an opportunity to the Ministry of Agriculture to furnish its report within two weeks.”

‘Penal action’

The Bench further added that Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, will be summoned before the tribunal if the report is not furnished within the stipulated time and “penal action might be taken if necessary”.

“The report may be in terms of cumulative assessment of the problems and the remedies implemented and proposed,” the Bench also said.

In November last year, the green panel had taken note of suggestions put forth by the Chief Secretaries of the respective States, officials of the Centre and Central Pollution Control Board pertaining to remedial measures to be taken. The Agriculture Ministry was then asked to continue monitoring the steps taken and furnish a report by April 30.

Additionally, senior officials of the Ministry and the States had informed the tribunal of a meeting that was convened in November.

“The issues considered were verification of incidents with reference to the satellite data Information, Education and Communication [IEC] activities by way of scrolls on TV channels, advertisements in the electronic and print media... Training of schools and college students motivation was to be carried out in ‘massive campaign mode’ in the concerned area,” the Bench observed.

Noting other suggestions put forth by the officials, the Bench added, “Ex-situ use of paddy was to be explored as source of energy in brick kilns and custom hire centres were to be linked through mobile apps to enable farmers to hire equipment at cheaper rate.”

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 7:00:17 PM |

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