NEW DELHI: The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has asked Delhi and its neighbouring states to ensure the adoption and application of a standard protocol developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for estimation of burning of crop residue events using satellite data.
The commission mandated to devise and execute plans to prevent and control air pollution in the city and adjoining areas. It also asked Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to develop a time-bound comprehensive action plan, in consultation with stakeholder agencies for responsible monitoring and reporting of agriculture residue burning events.
The commission stressed over the need to develop and implement a standardised methodology across NCR for the monitoring of fire events at a meeting with ISR held in December last year. The protocol has been prepared in consultation with stakeholder agencies like State Remote Sensing Centers and Indian Agricultural Research Institute, it said.
"In view of the compelling need to monitor and control air pollution from stubble burning, the commission directs the government of NCT of Delhi to ensure adoption and application of the standard protocol for estimation of crop residue burning fire events using satellite data," the directions read.
The commission said the protocol should be adopted uniformly across all the states and not be restricted to Punjab and Haryana alone. The panel on air quality also asked the states to submit a compliance report on the adoption of the protocol by August 30.
The northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh attract attention during the paddy harvesting season. Farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue left behind after harvesting. It is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi.
Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it as there is a short window between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat. The high cost of manual is a major reason why farmers choose to burn it. State governments are providing 50 to 80 per cent subsidy to farmers to buy modern farm equipment.