NGT pulls up Punjab Govt over stubble burning

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday pulled up the Punjab Government over absence of a proper action plan to curb stubble burning by the farmers. The stubble burning by the farmers of Punjab and Haryana has emerged as one of the biggest factors contributing to the pollution in the northern parts of the country.

File photo of stubble burning

The farmers of Punjab and northern parts of Haryana resort to massive burning of rice stubble to quickly get their fields ready for the next wheat crop. The NGT banned crop burning in 2015, but implementing the order had been difficult for Punjab and Haryana governments. Farmers set crop residue afire mainly because of cost concerns and the short gap between summer and winter crops. Lack of incentives and equipment to cut the stubble are other issues.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had cited stubble burning as the main reason for smoggy conditions and extremely poor air quality in the national capital. Kejriwal had even sought a meeting with his Punjab and Haryana counterparts to discuss the problem.

Kejriwal even met his Haryana counterpart, after which ML Khattar said that Haryana will work towards ensuring that Delhi has better air quality levels.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, with whom Kejriwal had sought an appointment, refused the request for a meeting. Singh had said that Kejriwal does not understand the real problem.

[Kejriwal is 'a peculiar person', doesn't understand problem: Amarinder Singh]

The Punjab Chief Minister had even said that until provided with viable solutions, "farmers cannot be expected to give up crop residue burning completely".

Amarinder Singh had even suggested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal as an incentive to farmers so they can manage the crop residue scientifically.

Asserting that a long-term solution was needed to arrest the problem of crop residue burning, the Punjab Chief Minister said the state government was looking for affordable solutions for this problem.

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