Centre concerned over Punjab's preparedness towards air quality management

Union Environment Minister expressed concern and dissatisfaction with Punjab govt's preparedness towards air quality management and noted a huge gap in the state's plan for stubble management

Air pollution, air quality

Photo: PTI

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Friday expressed concern and dissatisfaction with the Punjab government's preparedness towards air quality management and noted a huge gap in the state's plan for stubble management.
At a review meeting, Yadav said the Punjab government has not planned adequately for management of almost 5.75 million tons of stubble in the state which may have an adverse impact on the air quality in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).
He directed the governments of Punjab and NCR states to ensure timely and effective implementation of various components of the detailed plan of actions developed for the management of paddy stubble burning, the ministry said in a statement after the meeting.
Yadav held a detailed review meeting on the measures and actions planned towards abatement of air pollution by all stakeholders concerned in the NCR region and adjoining areas in the wake of poor air quality conditions generally prevailing between October and January.
The Union minister expressed his concern and dissatisfaction with the preparedness of Punjab in taking concrete action on the ground towards air quality management while pointing out that the state government had not planned adequately for management of almost 5.75 million tons of stubble, which is a huge gap and was likely to have an adverse impact on the air quality in Delhi and NCR region, the ministry said.
It said Yadav directed for timely and effective implementation of various components of the detailed plan of actions, developed by the NCR states and Punjab, pursuant to the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) framework and directions on the management of paddy stubble burning.
The Union environment ministry secretary called upon Punjab to expand the coverage of area under bio-decomposer through pro-active action, especially since a marginal increase had been proposed in the coverage of area under bio-decomposerfrom 7,500 acres in 2021 to merely 8,000 acres in 2022, the ministry said.
The CAQM chairman also emphasized the need for a time-bound implementation of the action plan, particularly by the Punjab, it added.
At the meeting, the ministry said optimal utilisation of available crop residue management machinery with the states was identified as a key factor towards effective management of stubble.
For in-situ management of the stubble, stress was laid upon enhancing the net of PUSA bio-decomposer application, the ministry said.
Since progress on co-firing of the biomass in thermal power plants has not been up to the desired levels, Yadav called for immediate corrective measures to substantially enhance it, it said.
The Union minister asked the CAQM to utilise his statutory powers to take action against the defaulting power plants and also any other defaulting entities, it added.
At the meeting, Yadav exhorted the need to switch over to cleaner fuels for industrial applications and directed for a quick transition according to the approved standard fuel list for the NCR region.
"Controlling heavy pollution from a large number of diesel generator sets operating in NCR was also identified as a key action area and the minister emphasised on strict implementation of restrictions on use of diesel generators and emission control measures in this context, the ministry added.
It said the meeting also highlighted the need for effective dust control measures in various anthropogenic activities, construction and demolition activities, roads and open areas.
Effective utilisation and augmentation of mechanised road cleaning equipment, water sprinklers and anti-smog guns by the NCR state governments and Delhi government was also emphasised during the meeting, the ministry said.
Considering the criticality of air pollution-related matters, including the weather conditions around Diwali festival, the minister directed for special and timely measures to control the air pollution levels," it added.
As air pollution in the region is a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral phenomenon, Yadav reiterated the need for collective and concerted efforts by all the stakeholder agencies, departments in the state governments and public at large, the ministry said.
To this effect, he stressed on the implementation of all orders, guidelines and directives issued by the CAQM, central pollution control board and state pollution control boards in right earnest, and also sought that they be critically monitored and periodically reviewed, the ministry said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sep 30 2022 | 10:19 PM IST

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