AQI in state continues to be poor
Jalandhar, where the AQI was ‘very poor’ in the afternoon hours at over 300 on the index, and Bathinda, where the index touched even 500 over the past 24 hours.Updated: Nov 04, 2019 22:13 IST
Patiala There was an improvement in the Air Quality Index (AQI) across the state on Monday, but it still remained in the Poor category. Prolonged exposure to such kind of air is known to cause breathing problems.
Jalandhar, where the AQI was ‘very poor’ in the afternoon hours at over 300 on the index, and Bathinda, where the index touched even 500 over the past 24 hours, were by far the districts with the worst air quality. There was improvement over Monday in other major cities of Amritsar, Bathinda, Khanna, Ludhiana and Patiala.
Experts says major relief has come with the increase in wind velocity and cloudless sky, leading to the dispersal of the smog. Yet, the smog has already impinged on the health of state’s residents, with the number of patients visiting hospitals with eyes, chest and cardiology problems seeing a spurt.
“There is a rush of patients complaining of severe breathlessness, chest and other breathing issues, and irritation in eyes. Children are falling sick due to pollution. Most of these patients are from rural areas, where farm fires have been reported in large numbers,” said Dr Vishal Chopra, a professor in pulmonary medicine at the local Government Rajindra Medical College.
227 farmers challaned in Bathinda
Despite authorities keeping vigil, farmers continued to burn stubble. Officials said challans were being issued to erring farmers after verifying land records, adding that over 100 farmers had been booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC in Moga and Faridkot districts.
Assistant environment engineer of Punjab Pollution Control Board Ravideep Singla said 227 farmers in Bathinda had been issued challans till Monday. Notices to the tune of ₹7.25 lakh have been issued to farmers violating the ban on stubble burning. On Monday, a team from a central institute, Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), in Ludhiana, visited farmers in Bathinda district. Director of the institute, Dr Rajbir Singh, who led the team urged farmers to use machines for in-situ crop management.
30 farmers booked in Fatehgarh Sahib
Fatehgarh Sahib Deputy commissioner Amrit Kaur Gill has said that the district administration had booked 30 farmers, while fining 41 farmers a total amount of ₹1.55 lakh. She presided over a meeting of officials of the agriculture department. She added control rooms had been set up at sub-divisional level and those wanting to lodge a complaint can call at 01763-232099 in Fatehgarh Sahib; 01763-252748 in Bassi Pathana; 01765-230029 in Amloh and 01628-260700 in Khamano.
The DC added flying squads had been formed to check stubble burning. “Once again, I appeal to farmers to make optimum use of the techniques and machinery for managing paddy residue, so that, jointly, we can save the environment from pollution,” she added. On Sunday, Kotbhai police in Muktsar district booked a farmer, Ranjeet Singh, of Wada Kishanpura village. Investigating officer Bashir Singh said, “The farmer has been booked under Sections 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC. The farmer is yet to be arrested.”