CHANDIGARH: Despite efforts by Punjab and Haryana governments to curb paddy stubble burning, more than 15,000 incidents have been reported in Punjab and 3,735 in Haryana. The situation is so
alarming that the number of stubble burning cases have touched 3,000 per day in Punjab.
Till October 28, almost 15,132 cases of stubble burning were reported in Punjab in the corresponding period 12, 762 cases were reported in Haryana. The highest number of cases were reported from Taran Taran -2166, followed by Ferozepur-1635 and Patiala -1563.
As per Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, over 2,231 such incidents were reported on Diwali (October 27), as compared to 2,111 in 2018 and 873 in 2017. On October 28, almost 3,105 stubble burning incidents were recorded by the satellite.
This despite the fact that almost each village has nodal officer to check farm fires as 8,000 modal officers were put on duty by the state government and 22 senior IAS officers to monitor the situation.
"Now we have started issuing challans to the people who are indulged in stubble burning. Till date around 90 challans have been issued. Now we will fine farmers who do not use combine harvesters with super stubble management systems, " said Krunesh Gargm, Punjab Pollution Control Board.
Agriculture secretary of Punjab, KS Pannu said the number of farm fires seems large because of early harvesting of paddy crop. " This year, the harvesting began around a week earlier as compared to the last year. That's the reason the number of farm fires looks big. I am sure the cumulative figure at the end of
the harvesting period will be much less," he said.
In the neighbouring state of Haryana 3,735 incidents of farm fires were reported as compared to 3,705 last year. Karnal, Kaithal and Kurukshetra have reported 824, 818 and 645 incidents of stubble burning, respectively, till October 20.
Haryana pollution control board member secretary S Narayanan said around 200 challans have been issued against farmers for violating the ban on stubble burning, but the recovery of a fine has been put on hold following the high court order.
Department of agriculture and farmers’ welfare Haryana, has roped in women vigilantes 'Jhansi ki Rani brigade' in villages to report stubble burning and for residue management, they will be offered cash incentives.
The period between October 15 and November 15 is considered critical as maximum number of stubble burning incidents takes place during this time in Punjab and adjoining states and is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR.