Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding rise in air pollution in Delhi NCR due to stubble fires in Punjab and Haryana, 29/11/2023
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of In re: News item appearing in Hindu dated 06.10.2023 “Pollution takes a front seat as stubble fires spike in Punjab” dated 29/11/2023.
The original application registered on suo motu exercise of power related to the issue of stubble burning and consequential aggravation in the air pollution. The tribunal from October 20, 2023 had regularly monitored the farm fire incidents in the state of Punjab and Haryana and had issued the direction to regulate and control the same.
As per the report produced by the Commission for Air Quality Management there were 36,632 farm fire incidents in Punjab, 2285 in Haryana and 39129 in the entire area of NCR region including Punjab and Haryana between the period from September 15, 2023 to November 28, 2023. District-wise cumulative number of paddy residue burning events during 15th September to 16th November, 2023 were found to be maximum of 476 in Fatehabad district of Haryana and 5352 events in Sangrur district of Punjab.
As there is a serious problem of residue burning which arises every year, therefore for the year 2024 a comprehensive plan and remedial action needs to start soon, the court said. To prevent such an issue and mitigate the situation next year (2024) the NGT directed Punjab and Haryana to prepare a time bound action plan disclosing phase-wise proposed action from January 1, 2024 to September 1, 2024. This should include various preventive steps for the next year as also the accountable authorities for implementation of the same. Counsel for the Punjab has submitted that such an action plan will be prepared and submitted before the Tribunal within six weeks.
The next hearing of the case will be held on January 19, 2024.