Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court’s order directing authorities to provide financial assistance to farmers in the state to stop stubble burning.

In a bid to save Delhi from the rising pollution levels, the top court earlier in the day asked the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide operational expenses to small and marginal farmers so that they can hire machines to deal with crop stubble. The court gave the states seven days to purchase the stubble.

“Happy to know that Supreme Court has recognised need for financial help to farmers to end stubble burning, as I have maintained all along,” the chief minister tweeted.

Singh added that his government would implement the order as soon as it receives the copy of the judgement. He added that the Centre would have to step in and help the states because of financial constraints.

According to PTI, 4,741 farm fire incidents were reported from Punjab on Wednesday. Such fires have reportedly increased 59% compared to the corresponding period last year.

The court rebuked the state governments for failing to stop crop burning, saying they “have no right to be in power” if they do not bother about people. “You just want to sit in your ivory towers and rule,” said Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta. “You are not bothered and are letting the people die. You have forgotten concept of welfare government, not bothered about poor people, this is very unfortunate. Don’t you feel ashamed that flights are being diverted and citizens are not safe even in their homes?”

The court also asked the three states to formulate a plan to purchase stubble, ensure it is not burnt anymore, and make the entire state administration responsible to combat air pollution.

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