Defiant farmers: Ban on stubble burning up in smoke in Patiala

  • Harinder Singh Khaira, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: May 08, 2016 16:29 IST
Fields in flames means commuters at risk. (HT File Photo)

The banned practice of burning wheat stubble to clear the fields for the next crop is on freely across the district.

On March 30, the district magistrate had issued these ban orders that seem to have been implemented on paper only. For the past couple of days, burning crop residue can been seen from any road in the district and reduced visibility because of the smoke clouds has made driving risky.

Last year American space research agency Nasa had alarmed the world by releasing satellite pictures of burning stubble in northern India, Punjab especially. One of the farmers who had set his field on fire said the stubble invited termites that could affect the next produce. The agriculture department claimed that unlike paddy stubble, wheat residue did not impede tilling and rather acted as fertiliser after decomposition in the soil.

“Burning stubble not only kills microbes and destroys helpful nutrients in the soil but also causes air pollution. We have been creating awareness among farmers against it,” said district agricultural officer Parminder Singh. One of the senior officers said the administration did not want to add to the woes of poor farmers by registering police cases against them, and “with the assembly elections less than a year away, even the government wouldn’t risk annoying them”.

Deputy commissioner Ramvir Singh said he would ask the departments concerned to take some action to stop farmers from burning crop residue “but it would be better to educate and inform them about the negatives of stubble burning”.

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