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SC Seeks 5 States' Report On Air Pollution Measures Following Punjab's Second Consecutive Day of 1,000+ Farm Fires

Nishtha Anushree

Oct 31, 2023, 03:26 PM | Updated 03:26 PM IST

Supreme Court of India (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Supreme Court of India (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court issued a directive on Tuesday (31 October) requiring the governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan to submit sworn affidavits outlining the measures they have undertaken to combat air pollution.

This comes in the backdrop of Punjab reporting more than 1,000 stubble burning cases for the second consecutive day on Monday, as reported by Hindustan Times.

As per the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), the state recorded 1,030 instances of farm fires, bringing the cumulative tally to 6,284. The highest single-day count of this season was 1,068, reported on Sunday.

However, the frequency of farm fires this year is lower when compared to the same period last year. On 30 October 2022, Punjab registered 1,761 cases of stubble burning, while in 2021, the count stood at 1,373.

Meanwhile, a three-judge panel, led by Justice SK Kaul, has instructed the five state governments to submit an affidavit within one week. Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and PK Mishra, who also form part of the bench, emphasised that crop burning is a primary contributor to air pollution in Delhi.

The Supreme Court had previously requested a report from the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) regarding measures taken to mitigate air pollution in and around Delhi.

Based on CAQM data, incidents of farm fires in Punjab and Haryana have decreased by approximately 56 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, since 15 September, coinciding with the commencement of paddy harvesting in these two agricultural states, when compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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