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It has become fashion to blame farmers: Supreme Court
Pulls up Centre, Delhi govt over air pollution crisis
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday came down heavily on the Centre and Delhi government over the pollution issue in the national capital and said that blaming the farmers for poor air quality has "become a fashion".
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by environmental activist Aditya Dubey and law student Aman Banka, who sought directions to provide stubble-removing machines to small and marginal farmers for free. The Supreme Court took a serious view of the severe pollution engulfing the NCR and Delhi and said if needed declare two-day lockdown to bring the pollution caused by vehicles, crackers, industries and dust. SC judge Justice Surya Kant said that since he is a farmer and Chief Justice N V Ramana hails from a farmer family, they know that poor and marginalised cultivators cannot afford machinery for stubble management.
"You are saying two lakh machines are available, but the poor farmers cannot afford these machines. After the agrarian laws, the landholding in UP, Punjab and Haryana is less than 3 acres. We can't expect those farmers to purchase those machines," Justice Kant told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
"Why can't the Centre and the state governments provide the machines. Take away the stubble for use in paper mills and various other purposes. In winters the stubble can be used for fodder for goats, etc in Rajasthan," he said.
Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the top court that these machines are being made available to the farmers at 80 per cent subsidised rate.
The top court judge asked Mehta, appearing for the Centre, whether the officials assisting him can point out the actual price after subsidy.
"Be the petitioners, the Delhi government or anybody else — it has become a fashion to blame the farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? What was the Delhi police doing?" he asked.