New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Wednesday said stubble burning, the key reason for the rising air pollution in Delhi and NCR, was not going to stop merely by issuing directions and asked Punjab and Haryana governments to consider granting some kind of subsidy to the farmers.

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri, S A Nazeer and M R Shah said the court was of the view that the problem of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is not going to stop on its own by merely issuing directions and advisory.

“We ourselves are saying that this (directions and advisory) is not going to work… The farmers do not have any cheaper method to deal with the issue of stubble. You consider granting some kind of subsidy to them so that crop burning can stop,” the bench said.

The bench said the farmers will not do it on their own and they should be given some kind of incentive to ensure that stubble burning stops.

The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on February 26 and asked the parties to compile affidavits and suggestions of experts on pollution in the meantime.

Earlier, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had said it would be filing its report in the matter. The court had also asked the States Pollution Control Boards to file their reports in the meantime.

The court had also asked Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to file norms and formulations which were required for producing ‘green crackers’ as stated in the affidavit of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Prior to this, the apex court had said that it will hear on the second week of January the plea seeking steps to curb pollution in Delhi-NCR caused by stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana and had asked the parties to file their affidavits.

It had said that all pending applications including that of firecracker manufacturers and compliance report of states with regard to use of green crackers will be taken up for hearing later.

On October 23, the apex court had said that people in the country can burst firecrackers only from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali and other festivals, and had allowed the manufacture and sale of just “green crackers” which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals.

It had said that the issue of pollution through stubble burning would be dealt separately.

The court had carved out an exception for Christmas and the New Year eve, saying that crackers for these occasions would be burst between 11.55 pm and 12.30 am, since these celebrations start at midnight.

It had, however, allowed the firecrackers which have already been produced to be sold in other parts of the country for this Diwali and other festivals and occasions including weddings.

For Gurupurab festival, the court had later allowed fireworks to be carried out for one hour in the morning between 4 am to 5 am and one hour in the evening between 9 pm to 10 pm.

The court had also banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or ‘laris’) saying that they cause “huge air, noise and solid waste problems”.

It had said the noise and smoke emission limits of the crackers will have to be approved by the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO), a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

To curb pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), the court had directed the Centre, the Delhi government and state governments of NCR to permit community fire-cracking (for Diwali and other festivals), wherever it could be done.

It had said that as directed earlier, the fire crackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dB(AI) of 145dB(C) at four metres distance from the point of bursting shall be banned.

The court had said that those crackers which have already been produced and do not fulfill the permissible conditions “will not be allowed to be sold in Delhi and NCR”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.