State sees 350% rise in stubble burning cases over past week
Cases increase from 3,400-odd on October 21 to over 15,000 by Monday night; state has seen 19% increase in cases over the corresponding period in 2018Updated: Oct 28, 2019, 22:43 IST
From 3,400-odd on October 21 to over 15,000 by Monday night, stubble burning cases in the state have risen almost 350% or over a four-fold hike over the past week. On Monday, 3,105 cases were reported. On Saturday and Sunday (October 26 (2,805) and 27 (2,231), over 5,000 cases were reported.
On Sunday, Diwali, when all government establishments were shut, Sangrur district reported the highest number of cases at 295; followed by Tarn Taran (213); Patiala (196) and Ludhiana (162). Pathankot reported a single incident and Mohali reported five.
Till Monday (October 28), at 15,132 cases of stubble burning, the state has already reported a 19% increase over the corresponding period in 2018, when 12,762 cases were witnessed. Overall, 2018 had reported 50,450 cases, which was a dip of 10% over 2017.
A look at the figures that the state remote sensing department has compiled makes for interesting reading.
On October 21, the state saw 825 cases ; October 22 (570); October 23 (337). There was a sudden spurt on October 24 (1,087) and October 25 (1,530), before the colossal jump started that has gone on to stretch even till Monday. The number of cases has risen so dramatically despite the fact that each village has a nodal officer to monitor stubble burning and all 22 districts have an officer of the rank of additional chief secretary and principal secretary as in-charge.
The sorry situation continues even as the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a central body formed in 2010, to deal with cases related to environment conservation, has referred to stubble burning persisting over five years as an ‘unhappy situation’. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also asked the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to make special efforts to check this in all districts of the state close to the national capital of Delhi.
The Centre’s two-year scheme that started in 2018 with a total outlay of ₹1,150 crore to the three paddy growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh for in-situ management of stubble has failed to make an impact. Under the scheme, machines for in-situ management of paddy were given to farmers on a subsidy of 50-80%. The target is to distribute 28,000 of these machines such as happy seeders, bailers, super straw systems and straw shredders.
PPCB member secretary Krunesh Garg said, “There has been a sudden increase in the number of stubble burning cases over the past week. The impact of this burning, however, is not visible on air quality index recorded at different locations in the state.”