Taking serious cognizance of crop and stubble fires in Punjab, the National Green Tribunal has issued a notice to the Central government. The NGT has asked the central government what steps have been taken to check this menace.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar slammed the central government after it was brought the court’s notice that Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had sought a package of Rs 2,000 crore from the Central government to tackle this issue. It need be mentioned that the smoke from the burning stubble in Punjab and Haryana drifts southwards and exacerbates air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region.
The state government wanted the Central government to give Rs 100 per quintal to the farmers. Singh had raised the demand at a meeting with union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh in the first week of October. The agriculture minister had assured he will look into the matter but the final call was to be taken after a meeting between agriculture and environment ministries. “Since last year we have been telling Centre to provide us funds so that we can provide infrastructure to the farmers. We told NGT that Centre has not helped us despite our constant requests. Therefore NGT has issued notice to the Ministry of Forest and Environment and have told them to file an affidavit by next hearing on October 17,” said Naginder Benipal, the standing counsel for Punjab’s Pollution Control Board.