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NHRC concerned about tardy progress on reducing stubble burning

Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Justice Arun Mishra, on Friday expressed serious concern over the ‘tardy progress’ towards achieving zero stubble burning to reduce air pollution in the national capital. He added that the time has come to fix responsibility of officers from top to bottom.

Based on media reports, the commission had taken up suo motu cognisance of Delhi’s air pollution last year.

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While chairing a full commission follow-up meeting on Friday, the chairman said it is important to rise to the situation as millions are choking due to air pollution and this cannot be allowed to continue.

“Poor farmers cannot be blamed for stubble burning as some of them do not have the financial resources to buy or hire machines to remove stubble in a short span between the harvesting of one crop and the sowing of the other. States besides giving subsidies to farmers should also keep some in reserve for those farmers who cannot afford costly equipment,” NHRC Chairman said.

The Commission also said crop rotation or diversification from other paddy varieties to Basmati may reduce the reasons for pollution but may not end the problem.

The Commission has asked the States of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to submit status reports on affidavits related to machines supplied to farmers on a daily basis to achieve the targeted procurement of machines in the next 15 days. They are also expected to submit status reports on machines which are to be reserved in every district for farmers who cannot afford it.