‘Paddy cultivation leading to rise in stubble burning, decline in water table in Uttar Pradesh’

Published on Aug 12, 2022 02:44 AM IST

The shift towards paddy cultivation is posing a serious environmental challenge for the state, said RK Upadhyaya, head of department of agriculture division of UP remote sensing application centre. Upadhyaya was here to attend a brainstorming workshop on space-based solution for effective management of stubble burning and air pollution, hosted by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

The increasing biannual paddy cultivation, particularly in Pilibhit district, has led to drying up of ground-fed Gomti River at many places. (HT File)
The increasing biannual paddy cultivation, particularly in Pilibhit district, has led to drying up of ground-fed Gomti River at many places. (HT File)
ByMohit Khanna, Ludhiana

Not only Punjab, even Uttar Pradesh (UP) started seeing a rise in stubble burning cases and decline in water table as farmers began shifting towards rice cultivation.

The shift towards paddy cultivation is posing a serious environmental challenge for the state, said RK Upadhyaya, head of department of agriculture division of UP remote sensing application centre. Upadhyaya was here to attend a brainstorming workshop on space-based solution for effective management of stubble burning and air pollution, hosted by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

He said as the area under rice begins to increase in UP, the problem of farm fires has begun to rise.

Since 2010, the state has witnessed a steady rise in incidents of farm fires. “We had identified 25 districts where the incidents of stubble burning were reported. Out of the 25 districts, malpractice of farm fire was rampant in eight districts in NCR region with Mathura topping the list of violators,” said Upadhyaya.

Mathura and Maharajgunj witnessed 1,017 and 975 cases in 2018-19. The government took note of it and due to effective penal and awareness measures, the cases of residue burning dipped to 585 and 365 in Mathura and Maharajgunj respectively in the year 2020-2021. The total number of fire incidents in the state also declined from 5,451 in 2018-19 to 3,412 in 2020-2021, said Upadhyaya.

Gomti River began to vanish due to rice cultivation:

Upadhyaya said the increasing biannual paddy cultivation, particularly in Pilibhit district, has led to drying up of ground-fed Gomti River at many places.

He said the river land was encroached upon and due to conventional puddling methods, water flow was blocked for rice cultivation. This was leading to evaporation of surface water and stoppage of groundwater recharge which further led to decline in water table.

He said that in May, the Pilibhit administration launched a month-long project to ensure free flow of river Gomti on a 47-km stretch from its origin at Phulhar lake at Madhotanda village to the boundaries of Shahjahanpur district by removing obstructions in the channel.

River Gomti flows through a distance of 960 km through various districts of UP till it merges with the Ganga near Jaunpur district. It is a great source of ground water recharge in the region, said Upadhyaya.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2022
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