CHANDIGARH: Compounding woes of residents in the national capital, who are already battling toxic air post Diwali, crop burning incidents in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana have risen manifold despite measures by the governments of the two states to curb the practice.
While more than 15,000 crop burning incidents have been reported in Punjab, neighbouring Haryana has recorded 3,735 such cases this year. In fact, stubble burning incidents per day in Punjab has touched 3,000, a quantum leap over previous years.
Till October 28, Punjab reported 15,132 stubble burning cases, up from 12,762 incidents at the same time last year. Stubble burning cases have picked up despite the deployment of a nodal officer in each village to track crop burning.
The Punjab government deployed 22 senior IAS officers and 8,000 nodal officers to monitor and report stubble burning incidents. However, from the evidence of the rise in crop burning cases, it appears the move hasn’t been as successful.
According to data available with the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, 2,231 crop burning incidents were reported in Punjab on Diwali night, up from 2,111 in 2018 and 873 in 2017.
Krunesh Garg, member-secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said, “We’ve started imposing fines on people indulging in crop burning. Around 90 challans have already been issued. We’re also considering levying fines from farmers not using combine harvesters, equipped with super stubble management systems.”
In Haryana, Karnal, Kaithal and Kurukshetra have reported 824, 818 and 645 crop burning cases this year.
US space agency NASA has also captured images showing a significant increase in stubble burning in the neighbouring states over the last 24 hours.
Stubble burning cases went up from 1,654 to 2,577 over the last 24 hours, the agency said. It said that prevailing wind pattern suggests that the plume rising from plies of burning crop residue in Punjab and Haryana is likely to increase over the next few days.