New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) Taking note of news reports that farmers in Punjab were threatening to burn crop residue if their demands were not met, the Delhi High Court today asked the state government what preventive steps it had taken.

A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sunil Gaur directed the Punjab government to file an affidavit before October 16 regarding the steps taken by it.

The court had on September 22 issued a slew of directions to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop stubble burning, saying “we cannot have another gas chamber situation”.

The court’s directions had come while hearing a PIL initiated by it in 2015 and another petition filed by a private person on the issue of poor air quality in the national capital.

The order on burning of crop residue was passed by the court as this practice starts from the month of October and continues up to January, during which the air quality of these states and especially of Delhi deteriorates.

Today an application was moved in the matter by a lawyer who has claimed that stubble burning was not the sole reason for the poor air quality in Delhi during the winter months.

He said that vehicles in the national capital number more than that of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai taken together and contended that they emit more pollutants than stubble burning.

The lawyer, Hargyan Singh Gahlot, has claimed in his application that low winds and temperature inversion during winters were also responsible for the poor air quality in Delhi.

He has claimed that a suitable alternative to stubble burning would be composting of the crop residue.

The other reasons he has cited for poor air quality in the city are non-shifting of industrial units out of residential areas and alleged lack of eco-friendly public transport systems.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.