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Pollution by stubble burning: SC to hear plea in January

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: December 11, 2018  | 18:43 IST

New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it will hear in January second week a plea seeking steps to curb pollution in Delhi-NCR caused by stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. A bench of justices A K Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer said that it is fixing the issue of stubble burning for final hearing in second week of January and asked the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Haryana and Punjab to file their response on the plea before the court by then. It said that all pending applications including that of fire crackers manufacturers and compliance report of states with regard to use of green crackers will be taken up for hearing next month. On October 23, the apex court had said that people in the country can burst firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals and had allowed the manufacture and sale of just "green crackers" which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals. It had said that issue of pollution through stubble burning would be dealt separately. The court had carved out an exception for Christmas and the New Year eve, saying that crackers for these occasions would be burst between 11.55 pm and 12.30 am, since these celebrations start at midnight. It had, however, allowed the firecrackers which have already been produced to be sold in other parts of the country for this Diwali and other festivals and occasions including weddings. For Gurupurab festival, the court had later allowed fireworks to be carried out for one hour in the morning between 4 am to 5 am and one hour in the evening between 9 pm to 10 pm. The court had also banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or 'laris') saying that they cause "huge air, noise and solid waste problems". It had said the noise and smoke emission limits of the crackers will have to be approved by the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO), a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. To curb pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), the court had directed the Centre, Delhi government and state governments of NCR to permit community fire-cracking (for Diwali and other festivals), wherever it could be done. It had said that as directed earlier, the fire crackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dB(AI) of 145dB(C) at four metres distance from the point of bursting shall be banned. The court had said that those crackers which have already been produced and do not fulfill the permissible conditions "will not be allowed to be sold in Delhi and NCR". PTI MNL RT

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