Air Pollution: This is how much ‘Environmental Compensation’ was paid for crop residual burning

Air pollution is a major issue in India

The National Green Tribunal in the order passed on 10.12.2015, had directed and prohibited crop or agricultural residue burning in any part of the NCT of Delhi, State of Rajasthan, State of Punjab, State of Uttar Pradesh and State of Haryana. The residual burning made headlines as Delhi, the capital of India becomes gas chamber every year around Diwali.

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Paddy Stubble burning is mainly practiced in Indo-gangetic plains of the States of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to clear the fields for Rabi Crop sowing. However, as informed by other States, the severities of uncontrolled crop residue burning incidences are not significant.

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In 2018, a new Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’ has been launched with the total outgo from the Central funds of Rs. 1151.80 crore.

This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar in Rajya Sabha today.

During 2018-19, funds amounting to Rs. 269.38 crores, Rs.137.84 crores and Rs. 148.60 crores have been released to the Government of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively for distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, establishment of Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities for creating awareness among farmers.

During 2019-20, the funds amounting to Rs. 248.00 crores, Rs.175.00 crores and Rs. 97.54 crores have also been released so far to the Government of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.

Any person or body that is found offending the directions of National Green Tribunal is liable to pay Environmental Compensation and it is collected by the concerned State Governments.

As per the information received from the State Governments, the Government of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have only collected the Environmental Compensation towards burning of crop residue, as stated below:

State Environmental Compensation collected by the States (Rs. in lakhs)
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Punjab NIL 73.22 133.94 167.58
Haryana NIL 19.38 52.78 61.72
Uttar Pradesh NIL NIL NIL 28.60