New Delhi, Dec 28, 2017: To incentivise farmers against stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states, a major cause of the toxic air pollution in the NCR, the Union Environment Ministry on Thursday approved a regional project under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
The Ministry, in a meeting chaired by Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra, approved the project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’.
“The first phase of the project has been approved at a cost of approximately Rs 100 crore for the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said a Ministry statement.
The project will leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from the states as well as farmers.
NAFCC was established by the government in August 2015, with a budget provision of Rs 350 crore for the year 2015-16 and 2016-17, with an estimated requirement of Rs 181.5 crore for financial year 2017-18.
The objective of the fund is to assist states and union territories that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation. Delhi-NCR saw its air quality drop massively in November with several places recording a “severe” Index.
The Ministry said that the project aims to counter the adverse environmental impacts that arise from stubble burning.
Under the project, the government plans awareness generation and capacity building activities to encourage farmers to adopt alternate practices.
The Ministry said that a slew of technological interventions will be undertaken for timely management of crop residue.
“Based upon the performance in the first phase, the scope could be enhanced and more activities can be supported subsequently,” said Mishra.
The stubble burning, especially in Punjab and Haryana — estimated to be around 35 million tonne and banned by the green court in November 2015 — is a major cause of pollution in Delhi.
In May and October, the Punjab government sought Rs 2000 crore from the Central government to grant special subsidy to farmers so that they can be encouraged to stop burning straw. (IANS)
"If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function," it says.
The Delhi government has drafted a policy to keep a check on the wastage of food at social functions in the national capital.
All organisers and caterers will have to register themselves with NGOs to manage the surplus and leftover food for distribution among the underprivileged, says the draft policy.
“The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs,” reads the Draft ‘Policy for Holding Social Functions in Hotels, Motels and Low-Density Residential Area (LDRA) in National Capital Territory of Delhi’.
According to the draft policy, the owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer.
“They should be registered with some NGO to manage surplus/leftover food by distributing the same among underprivileged. The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs.
The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site, it says.
“If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function,” it says.
The Commissioner Food Safety shall ensure that the above conditions are strictly followed; any violation thereof would invite action from the deployed officers by the Commissioner Food Safety, the draft policy reads.
The rules will be enforced by periodical inspections, which shall be conducted by officers of various state stakeholder agencies.
“Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders.”
“The capacity of the space should be determined by multiplying the total number of car parking available by four or by means the number of persons obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the premises by occupant load factor at 1.5 sqm, whichever is less,” says the document.
It said adding that the total number of days on which a social function can be organised are restricted to 120 days in authorized/approved spaces.
The draft also said that motels and LDRA should be constructed as per sanctioned building plan.
“Minimum area of LDRA must be equals or more than 2.5 acres. Only such Motel and LDRA houses should be permitted to hold social functions which have proper access to the road from a main road (60 ft wide or more) and the LDRA should not be located at a road which ends in a dead end,” it said.
According to an official from the government, the decision to formulate a comprehensive policy regulating social functions was taken after the direction of the Supreme Court.
“Further, in view of Motel Policy of Ministry of Tourism 1995, policy for holding social functions in Farmhouses of Government of NCT of Delhi, Master Plan 2021(MPD 2021), amendments in MPD-2021 notified in 2013, a comprehensive policy was required to be drafted,” the official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
The Chief Secretary has constituted a committee of four officers, including Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Health, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to draft the policy.
“Accordingly, the committee after consultation with all stakeholders drafted the policy keeping in mind concerns of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and Supreme Court such as stop the use of perennially installed semi-permanent pandals, nuisance of parking on outside road of the venue, safety of guests and general public, stop the misuse of scarce resources like water and stop any kind of pollution or degradation of Environment,” the official said. (IANS)