NEW DELHI: Giving the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and UP an earful for failing to curb stubble burning in their states, which pollutes Delhi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked them to incentivise small and marginalised farmers by offering Rs 100 per quintal to those who have not burnt their stubble yet.
The court also ordered the three states to bear the cost of hiring machines for handling the farm residue.
Chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi were present in the court on Wednesday as they had been summoned earlier this week.
At one point, the bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta threatened to suspend the Punjab chief secretary over the issue and asked him to list the steps the state planned to address it.
“We will send you back suspended,” the court warned.
“It is a question of life and death for crores of people. They suffer from diseases such as asthma and cancer because of all this. We outrightly reject the suggestion of allowing stubble burning on certain conditions,” the bench told Punjab’s chief secretary.
“Can you permit people to die like this due to pollution? Can you permit the country to go back by 100 years?” the bench asked, adding, “We have to make the government responsible for this. Why can’t govt machinery stop stubble burning?”
Rebuking the Haryana chief secretary, the court said, “You are worse than Punjab.”
“Why can’t the government purchase stubble from farmers?” the bench asked, in response to Attorney General K K Venugopal’s suggestion that farmers be allowed to burn stubble region-wise and district-wise.