Chandigarh, Jan 14 (Agencies): Thirteen people faced prosecution for burning agricultural residue and causing air pollution despite a ban on the menace on Thursday.

“Cracking the whip against those burning agricultural residue in the fields and sending out a deterrent message to others, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) filed cases against 13 violators in the State during the paddy season (Oct-Dec) last year under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,” State Chief Secretary Urvashi Gulati said.

Presiding over a meeting to discuss the issue of burning of wheat stubble and paddy straw in the open fields by farmers, Gulati said that the menace needs to be tackled effectively in future.

Out of the 13 violators against whom the case has been filed, three belong to each districts of Sonipat and Kurukshetra, four from Kaithal district, and one each from Karnal, Jhajjar and Ambala districts.

Gulati said that burning of the post-harvest residue polluted the air and impacted public health.

The Haryana Government has instituted awards for controlling the menace to prevent air pollution, protect environment and conserve soil fertility. 

An incentive scheme is being launched to give awards to three best blocks in each district where substantial progress has been made in controlling the menace of burning of wheat stubble and paddy straw.

Gulati said that an award of Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 would be given to the blocks standing first, second and third in each district in controlling the menace.