National Green Tribunal (NGT) today issued bailable warrant against Secretary, Haryana government, for not appearing before it despite issuance of notice to the state on a plea for ban on burning of agricultural residue.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued bailable warrant against the Member Secretary of the Haryana Pollution Control Board (HPCB) and directed that both officials be present on next date of hearing on July 19.

“As nobody is present on behalf of respondent 5 (Haryana) and 6 (HPCB), despite service, in exercise of our powers…, we issue bailable warrants against respondent 5 and 6 for the presence of Secretary and Member Secretary respectively of the said respondents in the sum of Rs 10,000 each…Bailable warrants returnable on July 19, 2013,” the bench, also comprising Justice U D Salvi, said.

The order came on a plea filed by environmentalist Vikrant Tongad who has alleged that burning of agricultural residue, like straw, in Punjab, Haryana and UP caused air pollution not only in these states but also in the National Capital Region of Delhi.

He claimed that burning of agricultural residue (straw) in these states is not only polluting the environment but also causing smog in the national capital.

Seeking ban on burning of agricultural residue, Tongad submitted that the burning of bio-mass is prohibited as per guidelines of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPA), despite which state pollution control boards are doing nothing to stop such practices.

In his plea, filed through advocates Rahul Choudhary and Parul Gupta, Tongad sought directions to the concerned authorities as well as these states to take steps to stop the practice of burning of agricultural residue/bio-mass.

The tribunal on May 13 had issued notice to the states and the authorities concerned, seeking response by July 1.

Courtesy: Business Standard