Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asked Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to ensure that farmers get equipment within 10 days to prevent stubble burning during the paddy harvest season, reported Hindustan Times.
Burning of stubble in these states is considered one of the main reasons for high levels of pollution in the region during winters. Vardhan chaired a meeting of environment ministers of the three states on Thursday to review the preparedness of the National Capital Region in order to prevent pollution this season.
“[The] Centre has provided all possible assistance including grant of Rs 1,150 crore from centrally sponsored schemes to tackle stubble burning to the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and also provided financial assistance under Urban Development Fund to Delhi for procurement of mechanical road sweeping machines, water sprinklers and greening,” the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a statement.
Vardhan said the Central Pollution Control Board has deployed 41 teams in Delhi-NCR for ground-level inspection of sources of pollution. It has also issued directions to state pollution control boards, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and the transport and agriculture departments to prepare action plans.
“Ambient air quality monitoring network is being expanded in NCR states and more data is expected to facilitate better air quality management decisions,” the statement said.
The statement said the number of ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’ and ‘moderate’ days increased from 144 in 2017 to 149 in 2018. The number of ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ days reduced to 120 in 2018 from 125 in 2017.