Stop stubble burning immediately: SC raps Punjab govt as Delhi AQI risestext_fields
New Delhi: Amid rising concerns about worsening Air Quality Index (AQI) in the Delhi-NCR region, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Punjab government to stop stubble burning immediately in order to address the issue of air pollution, and asserted that it is the government’s job.
‘We want it (stubble burning) stopped. We don't know how you do it, it’s your job. But it must be stopped. Something has to be done immediately,’ the Supreme Court directed the Punjab government.
The apex court further directed the state governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop stubble burning ‘forthwith’. It also noted that the constant political disputes should not hinder the necessary actions to combat the problem.
The overall air quality of Delhi was recorded in the 'very poor' category with an AQI of 399 on Tuesday, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)-India.
Air quality at Delhi University was recorded at 461, while the airport at Terminal 3 noted an AQI of 433, Noida at 463, IIT Delhi at 416, and Gurugram at 369, as per SAFAR data at 7 a.m.
The Supreme Court made also local SHO responsible for implementing the court’s direction on stubble burning under the supervision of DGPs and the Chief Secretary.
According to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi, a record-high number of 4,160 farm fires were recorded in northern India on Sunday, marking the highest count for this season.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul while hearing about air pollution matter observed that while travelling through Punjab over the weekend, he saw widespread fires on both sides of the road.
SC noted that a smog tower installed as per an earlier order is not working, and directs the government to ensure it is repaired.
Earlier, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had blamed the Centre for the closure of the smog tower. Rai said, “Central Government appointed Ashwani Kumar as the Chairman of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). Using his superpower, Ashwani Kumar violated the Supreme Court order and stopped the payment for the study of the smog tower. Following this, the agencies stopped the study and the smog tower was shut."
Furthermore, the apex court asked the Chief Secretaries of the States to have a meeting either physically or by Zoom on the pollution issue.