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Stubble burning up 44.5% in Punjab, 25% down in Haryana: Centre tells SC

New Delhi, Dec 17, 2020-
The Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry has informed the Supreme Court that ‘active fire events’ (AFE), or stubble burning, have increased by nearly 45 per cent in Punjab, and reduced by 25 per cent in Haryana, when compared with 2019.

According to the affidavit filed by the Ministry, total AFE reported in Punjab this year are 76,590, while in 2019, they were 52,991 (between September 21- November 25), which indicates stubble burning incidents have increased by 44.5 per cent.

“In 2020, districts such as Sangrur, Bathinda and Firozpur continue to be highest contributor with increase of 45 per cent, 34 per cent and 38 per cent in AFE in comparison to 2019. In 2020, districts such as Moga, Ludhiana and Fazilka have shown more than 70 per cent increment in their AFE counts in comparison to 2019,” said the affidavit.

The affidavit was filed after the top court on Monday asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, to inform it about the steps taken so far by the Commission for Air Quality Management to tackle the menace of air pollution in the national capital.

The ministry said in Haryana, this year, total AFEs were 5,000 while in 2019, they stood at 6,652 (September 25-December 5), which indicates stubble burning incidents have reduced by 25 per cent.

“In 2020, districts such as Karnal, Kaithal, and Fatehabad, continues to be major AFE contributors, but still have shown reduction by 25-47 per cent in comparison to 2019. In 2020, districts such as Karnal and Palwal have shown major reduction by 47-66 per cent in comparison to 2019,” said the affidavit.

Meanwhile, the bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, during the hearing on PIL to ban stubble burning, on Thursday said people in Delhi are not satisfied with the work done by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the national capital region on the issue of pollution.

“We don’t know what your commission is doing. People in Delhi are not satisfied with your work. We are also not satisfied,” the Chief Justice said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said the Commission is working on “war footing” and it has taken several steps to deal with pollution. The apex court said it would hear the matter in the second week of January.

The court was hearing the petition filed by Aditya Dubey, who sought direction to ban stubble burning in neighbouring states of Delhi. (Agency)

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