Stubble burning decriminalised under Air Quality Commission Act: Bhupendra Yadav

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Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupendra Yadav on Friday said that stubble burning has been decriminalised under the Air Quality Commission Act and lands have been allotted land for decomposition in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Participating in a debate in the Lok Sabha on Climate Change, he also said that there has been a proposal to use stubble for bio-fuel in future and this has been sent to thermal power companies like National Thermal Power Corporation.

Earlier, resuming debate on the matter under Rule 193, BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri said that many countries have brought legislation to deal with air pollution, and the previous government did not do anything for 30 years. He also highlighted the different projects undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Noting that the concept of development needs to be changed, RSP member N.K. Premachandran said that it has having a direct effect of developmental process of the country.

About the Glasgow summit on climate change, he further said there has been a dilution of the basic principle and for the last 30 years, the principle of equity is diluted and lost.

“Carbon emission from a person living in 27 storey building and an adivasi living in Attappadi colony in Kerala cannot be equated,” he said, adding that the “rich is hiding behind the poor”.

Giving suggestions including binding commitments from historical polluters to deal with environmental problems in developing countries and reviewing of the country’s coal policy, he also said, “We need action today, not tomorrow.”

National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi said that “on international front, we have not been able to negotiate a fair deal, what is being demanded by the developed nations is that we should now preserve our resources for them”.

Congress member Benny Behanan warned: “Climate change is not an issue of the future, but climate has already changed and is changing.”

Citing the extreme climate changes in recent times such as increasing frequency of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal region, he also said that rainfall is expected to increase in the coming years along the Western Ghats.

“Attitude of both Central and state governments is totally negative and risking the lives of present generation and the future generations as well,” he added.

BJP’s Tapir Gao said that the discussion in the House should focus on the decisions taken during Glasgow Summit, and on how the states plan to contribute towards the different goals envisaged by Prime Minister Modi during the COP26 in Glasgow.

Hanuman Beniwal of the RLP said that climate change has affected Rajasthan. Blaming industries for pollution in the state, he specifically mentioned a cement plant in his constituency that has flouted environmental norms and also asked the Environment Minister to conduct an inquiry.

Quoting a report, Independent member Navneet Rana said that around 80 percent of potable water is already polluted. “Look at Yamuna in Delhi and Meethi in Mumbai, it is not touched even by animals! Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world,” she commented.

She also suggested that the government to give heavy subsidy to electric, solar and CNG vehicles so that they can replace petrol or diesel vehicles.

About the bio-diversity of Meghalaya, NPP’s Agatha Sangma said that it must be protected and also questioned the Centre’s palm oil mission which will be disaster for whole northeastern region. “Please reconsider this Palm Oil Mission, she asked the Minister.

SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that climate change is an important issue in a country which depends on agriculture. “Effect of climate change is most on an agriculture state like ours,” she said.

Raising the issue of pollution being blamed on stubble burning by farmers, she said: “Do not burden the farmers and the government should come up with a solution to stubble burning.”

BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab said that the recent order by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to ban vehicles more than 10 years old aas a ‘blanket order’ passed without taking into consideration other factors including kilometers travelled.

He also urged formulation of a plan to realise the ‘zero emission’ promise made by the Prime Minister at Glasgow.

Others who participated in the debate were the BJP’s Sanjay Jaiswal, the DMK’s Kanimozhi, trinamool Congress’ Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Leader of Congress in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

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