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NHRC Demands Accountability From Officials For Slow Progress In Curbing Stubble Burning

Arun Kuma Mishra proposed that states, in addition to offering subsidies, should reserve machinery for farmers who cannot afford expensive equipment.

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has voiced deep concerns about the sluggish progress in curbing stubble burning to combat air pollution. NHRC Chairperson Justice (Retd) Arun Kumar Mishra emphasized the need to assign responsibility from top to bottom during a recent video conference follow-up hearing on Delhi's air pollution. The NHRC initiated this inquiry based on media reports last year.

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, Mishra stated, "We have to rise to the occasion as millions are choking due to air pollution, and we cannot allow it to persist indefinitely." He acknowledged the challenges faced by poor farmers, asserting that they should not bear sole blame for stubble burning, as some lack the financial means to acquire machinery for timely stubble removal between crop cycles, PTI reported.

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Mishra proposed that states, in addition to offering subsidies, should reserve machinery for farmers who cannot afford expensive equipment. He argued against solely relying on subsidies, stating, "Providing subsidies for the machines cannot be a solution for all."

The NHRC also addressed the time-consuming nature of in-situ management of crop waste, expressing concerns that farmers might struggle to delay sowing for the next crop. The Commission has urged Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to submit daily "status reports" on affidavits regarding machines supplied to farmers in the next 15 days. Additionally, the states are expected to provide updates on machines earmarked for reserve in each district for financially constrained farmers.

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