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Centre To Allocate Rs 1,000 Crore In Budget To Curb Air Pollution In Delhi-NCR

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| January 25 , 2018 , 10:25 IST

The smog that covered the national capital resulting in hazardous levels of air pollution in winter months was said to be significantly influenced by crop stubble burning in nearby states of Haryana and Punjab.

In an effort to improve the air in the national capital, the Centre has said that in the upcoming Budget, Rs 1,000 crore will be earmarked to tackle the problems of stubble burning in the states neighbouring Delhi.

Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing before a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, said that the Centre has decided to provide farmers with subsidies to purchase machines like Happy Seeder and Rotavators to deal with crop stubble and other farm residues without burning it.

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Faced with a worsening pollution crisis that drew more attention each year, the Centre had set up a high-level task force under Nripen Mishra, the principal secretary to the Prime Minister to come up with solutions for the pollution. One of the major causes of the pollution in the winter was identified as stubble burning in nearby states.

According to the report filed by Mishra, the recommendations have been accepted by the high-powered committee and farmers would be given subsidies to purchase machines which would be supplied to them by end of September, before the harvesting of kharif crops.

"It is not a heavy price to stop pollution," the bench said, regarding the cost estimate of Rs 1,000 crore given by the committee.

Based on the recommendations, farmers will receive a flat subsidy of 50 percent of the purchase price for the machines, while farmer groups or gram panchayats will receive a subsidy of 75 percent.

The total area of cultivation in Punjab is reportedly 44 lakh hectares with the production of paddy straw at 28.5 million tonnes, out of which 20.1 million tonnes are burnt by the farmers to clear the land for Rabi crops. The smoke caused by the burning of crops results in disastrous pollution for neighbouring Delhi.