PMO asks states to crackdown on stubble burning in next 3 weeks

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As the air quality is dipping in the national capital due to adverse weather and stubble burning from the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, the Prime Minister’s office has asked both the states to crackdown on the crop residue burning.

It has also identified 13 hotspots along the Punjab-Haryana border where maximum cases of crop fires have been detected. The states have been asked to take every measure possible to reduce stubble burning and initiate maximum crackdown in the hotspots.

It stated that the next three weeks will be crucial in controlling air quality spikes. The two states have been provided with a list of each hotspot where action either through dissuasion or incentives should be initiated as a priority.

“Thirteen hotspots have been identified in Punjab and Haryana, based on satellite monitoring where stubble burning is maximum. The Prime Minister’s office reviewed the air quality situation in Delhi NCR and instructed the two states (Punjab and Haryana) to use every resource available so that stubble burning could be brought down in these districts to the extent possible,” C K Mishra, secretary, ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) told TOI.

According to the ministry, the districts in Punjab with the most fire counts in 2019 so far were identified to be Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Patiala, while in Haryana, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Kaithal recorded the most fire counts.

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“The principal secretary gave specific instructions to representatives from Punjab and Haryana to check stubble burning effectively. Officers from these two states have committed to the Prime Minister’s office that they would immediately put all the machinery at their end to ensure farmers are dissuaded from burning stubble, which will lead to improvement of air quality in Delhi,” said the Union environment ministry in a statement on Friday.

Delhi’s air quality dropped to season’s worst on Friday with the overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 315 at 8.30 am, while it was 311 on Thursday evening. Most of the places in the national capital recorded the AQI in the “very poor” category.

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