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‘Fashion to blame farmers’: SC pulls up Delhi govt over air pollution crisis | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday came down heavily on the Centre and Delhi government over the pollution issue in the national capital and said that blaming the farmers for poor air quality has “become a fashion”.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by environmental activist Aditya Dubey and law student Aman Banka, who sought directions to provide stubble-removing machines to small and marginal farmers for free.

SC judge Justice Surya Kant said that since he is a farmer and Chief Justice N V Ramana hails from a farmer family, they know that poor and marginalised cultivators cannot afford machinery for stubble management.
“You are saying two lakh machines are available, but the poor farmers cannot afford these machines. After the agrarian laws, the landholding in UP, Punjab and Haryana is less than 3 acres. We can’t expect those farmers to purchase those machines,” Justice Kant told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
“Why can’t the Centre and the state governments provide the machines. Take away the stubble for use in paper mills and various other purposes. In winters the stubble can be used for fodder for goats, etc. in Rajasthan,” he said.
Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the top court that these machines are being made available to the farmers at 80 per cent subsidised rate.
The top court judge asked Mehta, appearing for the Centre, whether the officials assisting him can point out the actual price after subsidy.
“Can the farmer afford it. I am a farmer and I know it, the CJI is also from a farmer family he also knows it and my brother (judge) also knows it,” Justice Kant, who was sitting as part of a special bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana and also having Justice D Y Chandrachud, said.
Justice Kant asked whether other measures to curb pollution such as ban on firecrackers and vehicle emission control were implemented.
“Be the petitioners, the Delhi government or anybody else — it has become a fashion to blame the farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? What was the Delhi police doing?” he asked.
The observations came after senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, mentioned the issue of stubble burning.
The top court also termed the rise in air pollution in Delhi-NCR an “emergency” situation. It asked the Centre and the Delhi government to take immediate measures to improve the air quality and suggested steps such as stopping vehicles and clamping a lockdown in the national capital.
The observation comes as air quality in the national capital continues to remain above the “severe” mark, leading to a spike in hospitalisation.
(With inputs from PTI)



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