The district authorities on Friday said the satellite mapping service used to track fire incidents has failed to detect the sources and the administration is not receiving any alert. In last one month, more than 20 incidents of fire have been reported in the district, most of them from agricultural fields.
“We have an effective mechanism to track fire incidents. Our officials are always on their toes to tackle such situations. However, there have been around 10-12 cases when such alerts were not received,” said Mansa deputy commissioner Dharam Pal Gupta.
Senior officers of the district administration, however, say even if they receive alerts, satellite mapping fails to trace the offender. “Our local contacts help us better than satellite mapping. Even after receiving alerts, we never get to know about offenders or track the source,” said Poonam Singh, sub-divisional magistrate of Sardulgarh.
Based on the imagery provided by NASA satellites, officials in the Punjab agriculture department and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) track cases of fire.
“We can only track the coordinates of the location where the incident has taken place. We are on the implementation side of this mechanism,” said Rohit Singla, sub-divisional officer of PPCB.
The failure of the mechanism to spot offenders has become an issue for the officials while imposing fine on those involved in stubble burning. “The entire onus of identifying offenders for burning stubble lies on the probe conducted by the revenue department officials,” said a senior officer of the district administration.
Some officials also claimed due to lack of accuracy, it cannot be ascertained if the field caught fire due to short circuit or farmers deliberately burnt the stubble.