New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the top officials of four neighbouring states – Punjab, Haryana, U.P. and Rajasthan – to ensure a stop in the state to crop stubble burning, which spikes air pollution in the capital every year during October-November.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Ashutosh Kumar said that the Chief Secretaries of each of theses state will be held responsible if the “law is not followed in letter and spirit” and sought status report on the action taken.
“All the state governments to submit status report on action taken to ensure that agricultural cop residue/ stubble burning is stopped,” the bench said, adding that despite repeated orders of the National Green Tribunal and the high court, stubble burning was being carried out unabated.
The practice is also banned as per law.
The court noted that each year, Delhi is engulfed in a haze in the middle of October and this had resulted in serious pollution in the city for several years, the “effects of which are felt by children and adults who develop respiratory problems”.
The court also asked Delhi government for the air pollution data for the months of October and November and a comparison chart of this year’s data with the previous year.
The court’s direction came on a report submitted by Delhi government which said air pollution in the capital increases every year around October and November due to burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states.
The court has been hearing a public interest litigation initiated by it on the issue of air pollution in the national capital.
A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on ambient air pollution levels puts Delhi among the most polluted cities in the world.
The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on October 28.