Delhi Air Pollution: PMO Pulls Up Punjab and Haryana Governments as Stubble Burning Continues Despite Supreme Court Ban
File image of a Punjab farmer setting fire to his post-harvest crop | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, November 5: The Prime Minister's Office (PMO), which is monitoring the "air emergency" in the national capital region, pulled up the governments of Haryana and Punjab on Tuesday. The Centre has found that the two states are yet to prevent farm fires despite the Supreme Court imposing a ban on stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Watch: Stubble Burning Continues, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar Says, ‘Save Environment, Save Future’

The Centre, which was also reprimanded by the apex court on Monday for taking insufficient measures to curb air pollution, is constantly reviewing the situation in the states bordering Delhi. It was found by the central government that stubble burning continued unabated in Punjab and Haryana today, despite the top court ruling issued a day earlier which called for an immediate end to the farm-clearance practise.

Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba subsequently directed the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana to implement the apex court order in letter and spirit. The farmers still burning the crop stubble must be heavily penalised in order to bring down the cases of violation, Gauba told them, adding that both the states needed a focused strategy to end the menace.

"These states have been directed that more monitoring teams should be deployed on the field to ensure that violators are taken to task by imposing suitable penalties. The states have also been directed to ensure that they are fully prepared for meeting any exigency in future," said the statement issued by the PMO.

Update by ANI:

In Punjab, over 24,000 cases of stubble burning have been recorded between September 25 and October 31. The numbers are down by 8 percent, as compared to the year 2018. In Haryana, a year-on-year dip of 12 percent has been recorded by the Centre in the farm fire incidents. Between September 25 and October 31, a total of 4,290 cases of stubble burning were recorded, down from 4,290 cases last year.