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COVID-19: Delhi HC issues notice on plea to stop stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, UP


NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to all the respondents on a plea seeking directions to authorities to take immediate steps to prevent stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the view of COVID-19 situation.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought the response from all the respondents including Centre, neighbouring States and Central Pollution Control Board and others and slated the matter for further hearing on October 22.

The petition, filed by one Sudhir Mishra through advocates Petal Chandhok and Ritwika Nanda, sought directions to the respondents to send expert teams to these three States for implementing effective measures to curb stubble burning.

The stubble burning will lead to a massive increase in the number of emergency cases in the current situation of widespread COVID-19, the plea contended.

The application/petition has been moved in an ongoing 2015 matter related to air pollution, stated that the high level of pollution caused due to stubble burning also affects the respiratory functions in human beings making the immune system weaker.

The deadly virus, which has already claimed the lives of over 92,000 citizens, attacks the respiratory organs and immune system of the human body, the plea added.

The plea also submitted that the stubble burning has already begun in parts of Punjab, indicating a mammoth rise of 6 per cent in incidents of stubble burning in the last one week.

According to the plea, there are findings that clearly show a direct connection of the increased air pollution ascending the current situation and making it worst.

"Since air quality is a public good, central coordination to tackle the problem becomes even more important, implying that the government of the three states would need to come together and take immediate actions to stop farmers from burning the crop residue. Broadly, the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana have to act expeditiously before the health of citizens of NCT of Delhi fall in the state enhanced emergency," the plea said.

"The prevention, control, and abetment of the ever-increasing air pollution menace in the National Capital Territory of Delhi that is adversely affecting the image, habitability, prospects of trade and commerce, growth of the tourism sector and the health of the citizens of India residing r visiting Delhi, thereby inter alia violating fundamental rights to life and profession of the citizens of India, and more particularly of the NCT of Delhi," it added.