Amid rising concern over stubble burning in the region, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday took a serious note of the increasing pollution levels in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh and impleaded various ministries of the Central government in a case on air quality in the region and sought their assistance on the issue.
The division bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Amit Rawal expanded the ambit of the suo motu public interest litigation on the use of firecrackers on Diwali and other festivals. The PIL had been initiated last month by the High Court as a pre-emptive measure to control the deterioration of air quality.
During the resumed hearing of the case, senior advocate and amicus in the case Anupam Gupta said stubble burning was a part of the expanding agrarian distress in the country and if it has to be banned, then the farmers also needed to be heard and provided some viable alternatives to the practice. He said the Centre had a “vast pool of intellectuals” at its disposal who could provide their assistance on the issue.
The bench has sought a status report from the union ministries of environment, health, agriculture and the central and state pollution control boards on air pollution and steps being taken to deal with it.