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Khattar announces cash incentives for reporting stubble-burning, asks officials to target hotspots

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 1, 2019  | 22:31 IST

Chandigarh, Nov 1 (PTI) Amid calls for stopping stubble-burning in states adjoining Delhi, which is facing severe dip in air quality, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday announced cash incentives for those reporting such incidents and directed officials to encourage farmers to opt alternatives. His announcement came on a day a Supreme Court panel on pollution control declared a public health emergency in the national capital, and according to the Centre's air quality monitor SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution stood at 46 per cent, the highest so far. An official release issued here said Khattar met officials to review the crop residue management (CRM) scheme in his state. He directed officers of the Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Department to visit 10 villages where maximum incidents crop residue burning has been reported and ascertain the reason behind it, the release said. He said a cash award of Rs 1,000 would be given to those informing about such incidents in their area and their identity would be kept secret, it added. He said that the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of the concerned districts would also organize meeting of 'Gram Sabha' in these villages so that detailed deliberations could be held with the farmers on the issue. Directions were also issued for exploring various options for the purchase of crop residue from farmers. He directed to explore the possibilities of utilization of crop residue in sugars mills for power generation, the release said, adding he sought a report in this regard at the earliest. Khattar's Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal has often blamed the Delhi's pollution on stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana and requested the respective state governments to stop it. Khattar also said discussions should be held on providing latest instruments to farmers and benefits of various schemes for encouraging them to sell their crop residue and adopt the crop residue management. He also directed the Deputy Commissioners to take stringent measures to prohibit the burning of crop residue in their respective districts. He was informed that a 34 per cent reduction was recorded in stubble burning in the state up to October 22 as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, the release said. Last year, crop residue burning was reported on 57,000 hectares of land area as compared to only about 38,000 hectares this year. It is also mentioned that there was a reduction of 6.5 per cent incidents as compared to last year as on date. The Chief Minister expressed satisfaction on the crop residue management in the state and asked the department to make it a mass movement, according to the release. Delhi recorded its worst air quality of the season on Friday as the pollution level touched the 'severe plus' category, prompting authorities to shut schools till November 5, ban all construction activities and declare a "public heath emergency". The city's overall air quality index (AQI) was 504 at 3:30 am, but by 4 pm it was recorded at 484 in the 'severe' category, according to official data. In the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad and Greater Noida had an AQI of 496 at 4 pm, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said. The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared the "public health emergency", following which the Delhi government decided to shut all schools. The EPCA has also banned all construction activities in Delhi-NCR till November 5. The share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution stood at 46 per cent on Friday, the highest so far, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor SAFAR. The AQI entered the "severe plus" or "emergency" category late Thursday night in Delhi, the first time since January this year, a CPCB official said. PTI CHS TIR TIR

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