NGT raps Delhi, neighbour states; orders to end stubble burning
New Delhi : With Delhi's air quality severe since the last four days, the NGT on Friday rapped the governments of Delhi and neighbouring states, saying "you've earned Delhi the title of the worst capital in the world" and ordered them to ensure an end to stubble burning.
The National Green Tribunal also pointed out that despite its orders, neither have construction activities stopped in NCR, nor has water been sprinkled in Delhi.
The NGT had ordered that construction activities in Delhi-NCR, including that of Delhi Metro, should be stopped till further order.
"It has been brought to our notice that huge crop residue burning is going on in Karnal, Haryana... We direct all the pollution control boards and departments concerned of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to ensure that there is no stubble burning anymore," NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said here.
The unabated stubble burning, especially in Punjab and Haryana, estimated to be around 35 million tonnes, was banned by the tribunal in November 2015. It is a major cause of pollution in Delhi.
"Show us one farmer in Haryana that you have incentivised. We will seize the property of that farmer, who had been given support from the state government and still went ahead with burning the crop residue," Justice Kumar asked the Haryana government.
The bench, headed by Justice Kumar, was making observations to the case that included "odd-even vehicle rationing scheme" and "stubble burning" among other concerns related to air pollution situation here.
Slamming the governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, it said: "This is the most important matter in the world right now, you have earned Delhi the title of the worst capital in the world."
Pointing out that there is a lack of will, Justice Kumar said: "If incidents of crop burning are bought to notice and the department concerned failed to take appropriate actions, the Tribunal will be imposing fines and recovering them from the salaries of the officers concerned."
The Tribunal added: "Children are unable to breath, this is the biggest sin committed by this generation."
Taking on the Delhi government, the Tribunal asked: "Which colony have you picked for water sprinkling... Tell me one case of any builder that you have challaned since yesterday."
Observing that despite its directions, the government could not even fix a traffic signal, at Rao Tula Ram Marg in South Delhi, it said: "You can not even fix one red-light, how would you work on pollution situation here."