Supreme Court pulls up Punjab govt, asks it to stop stubble burning immediately


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Punjab government to put an immediate stop to stubble burning.

The Supreme Court’s searing observation comes on back of worsening air quality and Air Quality Index (AQI) increasing to abnormal levels in various parts of capital.

The national capital has been under thick cover of smog enveloping & shrouding it all over for a week now. The air quality has persistently remained in ‘very poor’ category, sending alarm bells for the local residents, elderly & children in particular. Many places of the capital recorded AQI of upto 500-700 in many parts, a parameter that goes beyond being a health hazard.

Taking cognizance of deteriorating air quality in the capital, the Apex Court made some harsh remarks and advised the state governments to push in immediate measures to arrest the decline in air quality.

Stubble burning in adjoining states, primarily Punjab & to some extent Haryana, have been the real contributor to Delhi’s air pollution, year after year.

In a direct & stern message to Punjab government, the Apex court said, “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 also observed that “there can’t a state of political battle all the time”.

The reprimanding by Apex Court comes in the backdrop of war of words between Centre and Delhi government over Delhi’s air quality. The Centre has pinned blame on Kejriwal govt for ‘ruining the living conditions’ in Delhi, while the latter tried to deflect it by claiming that stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh was the chief contributor to Delhi’s air pollution.

Notably, the satellite based imagery has, at many occasions, linked Delhi’s worsening air quality to incidents of stubble burning in Punjab fields. Farmers in Punjab, have long, resorted to burning the crop residues for ‘preparing the field’ for next crop, as it comes as financially more reasonable option.

What SC told Delhi govt
The Apex Court also took of closed smog towers in the capital and directed the state govt to ensure its immediate restoration. It also termed the closure of smog towers as ‘ludicrous’.

The court asked govt to ensure that the only Delhi-registered taxis to ply in the capital and the rest be barred.

The bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia also called upon Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & Rajasthan govts to convene a meeting and ensure that crop residue burning is stopped forthwith.