“Stop stubble burning forthwith”: Supreme Court to states

stop stubble burning forthwith supreme court to states – The News Mill

ANI Photo | “Stop stubble burning forthwith”: Supreme Court to states

Expressing grave concern over the hazardous air quality in the national capital, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that farmers should stop the stubble burning forthwith in northern States of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh saying it was one of the major contributors to air pollution.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia made the local State House Officer, under the overall supervision of the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, responsible for preventing crop burning.
It further directed that a meeting be held on Wednesday between the States to ensure that crop burning is stopped forthwith.
Farmers burn straw stubble which remains in fields after harvest of grains like wheat and paddy, to prepare the fields for the next set of crops.
The bench while expressing concern about the government not being able to stop stubble burning acknowledged that while stubble burning may not be the sole cause of air pollution, it remains a substantial contributor.
The Punjab government told the apex court that stubble burning has reduced 40 per cent since last year’s stop. The bench said stubble burning should be stopped and there can’t be a political battle all the time.
“We want it (stubble burning) stopped. We don’t know how you do it, it’s your job. But it must be stopped. Something has to be done immediately,” Justice Kaul told the Advocate General of Punjab.
The top also took note of a suggestion that instead of burning paddy crops, ethanol could be made with stubble.
The top court was hearing cases relating to air pollution in Delhi- NCR.
The Advocate General of Punjab Gurminder Singh suggested that paddy cultivation must be phased out to be substituted with other crops, and the Central government must explore the options for giving Minimum Support Price (MSP) for other crops rather than for paddy.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan also said that paddy should not have been grown in Punjab as it has reduced groundwater levels.
The bench also questioned whether the MSP for paddy should be discontinued and remarked that the Centre will have to help the State shift to an alternative
“You are promoting millets on one hand and then letting paddy ruin groundwater…,” Justice Kaul told the Central government.
“The crop is destroying the water table of the State. The problem just goes on each year,” he added.
It noted that adherence to the Food Security Act was creating problems in Punjab.
The bench said paddy was not native to the Punjab, and that a switch to alternative crops may only occur if MSP is not given for paddy, aligning with the Central government’s aim to encourage the cultivation of traditional crops like millets.
Posting the matter for further hearing on Friday, the bench said, “The residents of Delhi are grappling with health problems year after year because we cannot find a solution to the issue. It requires immediate attention and court monitoring irrespective of the fact whether the matter improves or not.”
Further, the top court noted that smog towers installed as per earlier order are not working, and directed the government to ensure they are repaired.
The top court also asked Chief Secretaries of the States to have a meeting either physically or by Zoom on the pollution issue. “Eminent Secretary should call for a meeting tomorrow, whether physically or via Zoom. All stakeholders will connect to ensure that we have a better picture and some redemption by Friday,” it added.
It also observed that schemes like odd-even for vehicles to tackle pollution issues mere optics

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