Punjab at fault for Delhi air pollution: Centre to Supreme Court

Punjab Agriculture Secretary KS Pannu said the number of farm fires seems large because of early harvesting of paddy crop.

Published: 05th November 2019 07:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2019 09:24 AM   |  A+A-

A Civil Defence volunteer wearing a pollution mask on duty to help implement the odd-even scheme in New Delhi Monday Nov. 4 2019. | (Photo | PTI)

A Civil Defence volunteer wearing a pollution mask on duty to help implement the odd-even scheme in New Delhi Monday Nov. 4 2019. | (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH: The  Centre on Monday blamed the Punjab government for contributing maximum to the deteriorating air in Delhi before the Supreme Court and praised Haryana for controlling the stubble burning there.

“Four districts of Punjab contribute to 47% of the total crop stubble burning namely Bathinda, Patiala, Sangrur and Tartan Tarn,” the Centre told a SC bench, which then summoned the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi on Wednesday asking as to what immediate steps were  taken to control pollution.

“State governments are responsible for this. State governments are making mockery of everything. We are going to hold them responsible now from top to the bottom,” the bench remarked.

Punjab Agriculture Secretary KS Pannu said the number of farm fires seems large because of early harvesting of paddy crop.

“This year, the harvesting began around a week earlier as compared to the last year. That’s the reason the number of farm fires looks big. I am sure the cumulative figure at the end of the harvesting period will be much less or same as last year. We are taking adequate measures to control stubble burning,” he added.

ALSO READ | Stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and UP: SC says will fix liability on state governments

Punjab has initiated action against as many as 2,923 farmers in the state for stubble burning till November 1.

The government has so far received 20,729 cases as against 50,000 cases of stubble burning received last year, with more than 70 per cent paddy harvested already.

This apart, the state also expects more than 10-20 per cent decline in such cases this year as compared to 2018. 

The enforcement teams had, till November 1, 2019, visited 11,286 fire incidents sites, and Environment Compensation amounting to `41.62 lakh had been imposed in 1,585 cases. 

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