NGT junks Punjab govt plea to recover penalty from defaulting farmers for burning crop residue

·2-min read

New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has refused to entertain a plea by Punjab government seeking directions to recover pending environmental compensation for burning crop residue from defaulting farmers as arrears of the land revenue.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said it is for the state to devise strategies for enforcement of environmental laws and recovery of compensation from those who violate the same on 'Polluter Pays' principle.

'Even though the application has been filed as above, during the hearing, learned counsel for the State says that he has no instructions in the matter.

'Moreover, it is for the state to devise its strategies for enforcement of environmental laws and recovery of compensation from those who violate the same on 'Polluter Pays' principle, as per law for which prayer before the tribunal is not called for,' the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Punjab government seeking to recover pending Environmental Compensation for burning crop residue in terms of 2015 judgment from defaulting farmers.

The plea sought to recover the amount of environmental compensation (pending dues and future liabilities) from the payment of sale proceeds of food grains of the defaulting farmers who have burnt paddy residue.

The NGT had in 2015 directed state governments to take coercive and punitive action against persistent defaulters of its crop residue burning order and asked them to withdraw the assistance provided to those farmers.

The green panel had said that the five north Indian states Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi which have issued a notification prohibiting agriculture crop residue burning should ensure that these notifications are enforced rigorously and proper action is taken against the defaulters.

The tribunal had said small land owners having less than two acres of land will have to pay Rs 2,500; medium landowners holding (over 2 acres and less than five acres) will have to pay Rs 5,000; and those owning over five acres will have to pay Rs 15,000 per incident of crop burning towards environment compensation.

The panel had asked state governments to provide machinery free of cost to the farmers having less than two acres of land, to farmers having medium landowners at Rs 5,000 and for the large landholding farmers at Rs 15,000. PTI PKS SA