SC seeks status report on stubble burning panel’s proposals

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New Delhi– Taking a serious view on the depleting air quality in the capital, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) to submit a status report on the recommendations of a high-level task force constituted to look into stubble burning in capital’s neighboring states.

The air pollution issue was brought forth a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta after senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the apex court as amicus curiae in the pollution matter, contended that the environment ministry should file a status report on the matter.

Over the years, rampant stubble burning have been reported from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. According to reports, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi had crossed the 300 mark by 10 p.m. on Sunday, and at night, the air quality had nose-dived into very poor category across the capital. The apex court is hearing a matter related to pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Singh informed the court that on January 29 last year, it passed an order after the Centre had said that report of a sub-committee of the high level task force constituted to address stubble burning in states around the capital was accepted. Citing the delay, she contended before the court that MoEF should be asked to file a status report identifying the implementation of the directions along with the report of the committee. The bench asked the MoEF to file status report within two weeks.

A high level task force, comprising experts and senior officials of various departments, was constituted by the Cabinet Secretariat in November 2017, to address air pollution in Delhi-NCR region. It recommended several measures including mechanical disposal of stubble to prevent its burning by farmers. (IANS)

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