16-year-old Sonali Sheokhand from Jind district will be honoured by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board with a cash reward of ₹11000 for reporting the case of stubble burning by her father to the authorities.
Sonali had reported the case of stubble burning by her father to the local pollution control board officials, last week and the HPCB responded by slapping a penalty of ₹2500 on her father Shamsher Sheokand who was enraged that his own daughter had complained against him.
Sonali, a tenth standard student of RE Kanya Mahavidyalaya in Narwana said her whole family was angry at her for complaining.
“My father scolded me very badly. He said main tumhare liye itna karta hun aur tum! (I do so much for you and look what you have done) For once, I felt I made a mistake by reporting him. But after everyone praised me, I felt good. My father is still a little angry at me..but he will understand,” said Sonali and added, “I always wanted to work to make our environment better,”
Her father’s initial anger has worn off after he realised the danger of pollution caused by stubble burning.The girl had read in the newspapers about harmful effects of stubble burning and warned her father not to burn the paddy residue on his 2-acre land. But when he ignored her, she went to the authorities who reached the next day, October 21, and fined him ₹2,500.
“I have asthma. My 74-year-old father was sitting in the grain market for four days to sell the produce because I can’t go there. At first, when I got to know my own daughter has complained about me, I went completely mad. She added to my tensions. But then, I realised I was adding to pollution that may cause asthma to many others like me,” Sheokand said.
On Friday, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up the states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for not stopping large scale burning of crop stubble that has sent air pollution Delhi-NCR to a critical level.