Rain brings respite from farm fires in Punjab - Hindustan Times
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Rain brings respite from farm fires in Punjab

By, Jalandhar
Nov 11, 2023 08:38 AM IST

Light to moderate rainfall across the state has given major relief from raging farm fires as only six active cases of stubble burning were reported in Punjab on Friday. Of the total cases, two each were reported in Fazilka and Ludhiana and one each in Sangrur and Gurdaspur. The state reported a total of 23,626 stubble burning cases in this paddy harvesting season so far.

Light to moderate rainfall across the state has given major relief from raging farm fires as only six active cases of stubble burning were reported in Punjab on Friday.

Heaps of the harvested paddy are covered with tarpaulin amid rains, at a grain market in Patiala on Friday. (PTI)
Heaps of the harvested paddy are covered with tarpaulin amid rains, at a grain market in Patiala on Friday. (PTI)

Of the total cases, two each were reported in Fazilka and Ludhiana and one each in Sangrur and Gurdaspur. The state reported a total of 23,626 stubble burning cases in this paddy harvesting season so far.

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After a crackdown on farmers indulging in stubble burning, the state recorded a 68% decline in farm fire incidents as 639 cases were reported on Thursday.

One of the officials said the number of cases receded as the paddy leftover got drenched in the rain due to which farmers, who were still reluctant to manage stubble through scientific techniques, couldn’t set it ablaze.

Last year also, only three cases of stubble burning were reported due to heavy rainfall on November 14 but after that the state recorded nearly 4,000 cases of stubble burning in the next one week.

Importantly, the agriculture department claimed that nearly 20% paddy crop is yet to be harvested in the state.

Meanwhile, Punjab Pollution Control Board chairman Adarshpal Vig said the rainfall minimised the stubble burning cases as farmers, who wished to set the paddy straw ablaze, couldn’t do so.

“Even as it rained throughout the day, field teams of all the departments were present in vulnerable districts to ensure implementation of the state action plan after the Supreme Court directions,” Vig said.

The state reported 4,008 and 1,893 farm fires on November 10 in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The total cases reported in the state during the corresponding period in 2022 and 2021 were 36,761 and 51,417 cases, respectively.

Even as the rainfall receded farm fires in the state, there was no improvement in the air quality as it was recorded in ‘very poor’ and poor categories.

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, Bathinda recorded the worst air quality index (AQI) at 383 followed by 306 in Patiala and 305 in Mandi Gobindgarh, which falls under the ‘very poor’ category. Meanwhile, Ludhiana recorded AQI of 267 followed by Khanna 256, Rupnagar 225, Jalandhar 221 and Amritsar 212, all in poor category.

The PPCB chairman said there are multiple factors through which the AQI level of a particular area is measured. “Rainfall is one of the factors, which could help in improving the air quality, but other factors include dust particles and emission and dispersion of gases in the air, velocity of wind and green belts and certainly a warmer temperature helps in having better air quality,” he said.

An official said that the stubble burning was one of the reasons for poor air quality but the sudden dip in the temperature is also the key reason behind smog and poor air quality.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Navrajdeep Singh is a senior staff correspondent. He covers agriculture, crime, local bodies, health and education in the Patiala district of Punjab.

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