Like every year, the farmers in the district have started burning stubble despite ban on such a practice.
The agricultural experts and officials have been appealing to the farmers to avoid this practice but the farmers seem to be least concerned about it.
Stubble burning can be noticed round the clock at every rural pocket of the district. According to the experts, it not only depletes the soil health but also harms the environment, causing several breathing and skin problems.
"By burning stubble, farmers are simply trying to put the cart before the horse. All essential nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen and other microorganisms or insects that are soil friendly receive severe damages due to the burning of stubble. Secondly, it causes huge environmental pollution leading to several health problems,"said JS Dhiman, director of research, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
District's chief agricultural officer Sukhpal Singh Sekhon, while talking to HT, said the panchayat heads in all the villages are informed to share with the farmers to not burn wheat stubble but despite that farmers do not listen. "PAU also organises training for the farmers on this issue but I think farmers feel this may be an easy method to clear the fields for the next crop,"he said.
"I know stubble burning is on in the district despite the fact that we spend so much time and effort convincing the farmers not to do so and use the stubble in various other efficient ways. For instance, it can be used for mushroom cultivation, running bio gas plants or even as natural fertilisers during cultivation of various crops,"said Sekhon, adding that high court or Supreme Court can come up with strict laws, which can play an effective role to discourage this practice.
The farmers hailing from different villages during their visit to PAU on Wednesday, said if the state government comes up with special incentives and schemes for those farmers who do not burn stubble, this practice will vanish with the passage of time. However, the district's chief agricultural officer, Sukhpal Singh Sekhon, while talking to HT, said that the state government doesn't provide such an incentive but the same can be planned if it can go a long way to change the mindset of the farmers.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier while harvesting was at its full swing, the farmers harvested the crop even during the night hours which is also banned.
Tota Singh, minister of agriculture and NRI affairs, said over phone, "I appeal to the farmers not to burn stubble as it can spoil the soil health and harm the environment. Let us stop this practice and make every activity of farming efficient and fruitful."