New Delhi: A petition has been moved in the Delhi High Court on Sunday seeking authorities to take immediate efforts and prevent stubble burning during the ongoing Kharif harvest season in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as it may further worsen the COVID-19 conditions. Also Read - Will Centre's New Law Effectively Curb Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR? What’s The New Ordinance All About | Explained

The plea, filed by a Sudhir Mishra, sought directions for setting up expert teams in each of these three states in order to implement effective measures to curb stubble burning that causes a nuisance by forming a smoke cloud all over Delhi every year. Also Read - Delhi Water Supply to be Hit, Jal Board Blames Spike in Ammonia Levels in Yamuna From Haryana

Stubble burning will lead to a massive increase in the number of emergency cases in the current situation of widespread COVID-19, the petitioner told the court. Also Read - Farm laws: Punjab CM asks state MLAs to accompany him for meeting with President

Earlier today, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced a series of measures to check stubble burning and the consequent air pollution as his government arranged for as many as 23,500 more machines to be given to farmers for paddy straw management. At least 8,000 nodal officers have been appointed to keep a check on the stubble burning.

Seeking the support and cooperation of farmers in preventing stubble burning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the chief minister said experts had warned it could have serious implications for people already suffering from lung and other diseases.

Singh noted that he has been repeatedly following up with the prime minister for compensation to farmers for defraying the cost on the management of paddy straw. The state is also taking various steps to educate farmers about the problem, he said.

Notably, last year’s stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana had contributed to 44 per cent of the pollution in NCR Delhi, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the Ministry of Earth Science.

A Supreme Court-mandated pollution control authority has already written to Punjab and Haryana and asked them to “urgently” implement measures to reduce stubble burning, which causes extreme levels of air pollution in Delhi NCR every year.