Punjab witnessed an increase of 44.5 per cent incidents of stubble burning in 2020 despite getting 46 per cent of the total funds from the central government for checking crop burning residue, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.
In an affidavit, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) informed that Punjab saw 76,590 incidents of fire in 2020 as compared to 52,991 instances in 2019 which indicates an increase of 44.5 per cent as compared to the earlier year.
It said that in Haryana in the year 2020, the total active fire events reported was 5,000 while in 2019, it was 6,652 which indicates a decrease of 25 per cent.
The ministry said that in order to address the issue of air pollution and subsidise machinery required for in management of crop residue, the Deaprtment of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has implemented a special Central Sector Scheme which is 100 per cent centrally funded, in states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi for the period from 2018-19 to 2020-21.
The Centre allocated Rs 1,726.67 crore, of which Punjab got Rs 793.18 crore, Haryana Rs 499.90 crore, UP Rs 374.08 crore, Delhi Rs 4.52 crore and Indian Council of Agricultural Research and other central agencies Rs 54.99 crore.
The top court was apprised that an ordinance was implemented for setting up a broad based Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and adjoining areas to provide for coherent approach in order to tackle the problem of air pollution.