Supreme Court heard the matter on Delhi air pollution and stubble burning in Punjab on Friday (10 November). It asserted on stopping farm fires but left the methodology to be decided by the administrators. Here are the highlights:
1. Phasing out paddy
Reiterating its suggestion to phase out paddy from Punjab, given its adverse effect on pollution and the water table, the Supreme Court asked for incentives for farmers to do so, LiveLaw reported.
Order suggested that long-term measures are crop replacement in a phased manner and encouragement of crops that do not leave behind stubble that will require burning, including alternative varieties of paddy.
2. On Odd-Even scheme
Supreme Court pointed out that vehicular pollution contributes 17 per cent and the odd-even rule only causes a decrease of 13 per cent in this 17 per cent component, suggesting it will not help much.
However, it left it to the Delhi government to decide on implementing odd-even rule, saying, "You will have to take a call. You have to do what you have to do. You can't then say pollution because the Supreme Court passed an order."
3. On farm fires
Senior advocate Vikas Singh pointed at the raging farm fires in Punjab, to which Justice Kaul responded by saying, "There have to be incentives for a farmer to switch over. Here, neither is there a stick, nor a carrot" and asserted the need to stop this.
"You will register FIRs, they will be withdrawn. This is again a political issue...what is the point...If the farmers, despite fires, do not use the machines, are unwilling to pay 5-10 per cent... what are you going to do?", he added.
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