Stubble burning hurting Punjab more than Delhi, finds PAU report
Backing the Union ministry’s claim that stubble burning is not a major contributor to pollution in Delhi, Punjab Agricultural University experts say stubble burning had affected the air quality in Punjab more than that of the national capital.
The varsity’s wind analysis report, which was submitted by climate change and agriculture meteorology department head Dr Prabhjyot Kaur Sidhu, says the wind speed had exceeded 5km per hour only on three days between October 1 and November 15, and had remained below 2-3km per hour for the remaining days. “In the circumstances, it is unlikely that the smoke travelled 300km and polluted Delhi,” she said, adding that the smoke had raised the pollution level in Punjab more than Delhi.
“It was on October 23, 24 and November 2 that the wind speed was found to be over 5km. On the remaining days, when the wind speed was below 2km per hour, photochemical smog was seen locally,” said Sidhu.
Photochemical smog is produced when ultraviolet rays from the sun react with nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. “It is visible as a brown haze, and is most prominent in the morning and afternoon. Earlier, it was only seen in densely populated cities with high-emission levels, but nowadays it is being witnessed in the villages in Malwa region as well,” she said
“In layman’s terms, Punjab’s smoke is not travelling 300-400km to choke Delhi’s lungs, rather the farmers are harming their own children and brethren by setting their fields on fire,” said Sidhu.
In 2019 and 2020, Ludhiana’s air quality index on Diwali was at 263 and 346 points. However, this year, it crossed 400 points, as per an air-quality website. However, the Central Pollution Control Board website showed the peak pollution level at 293 points.
Ahead of the annual Amarnath Yatra, security has been heightened along the 198-km-long Indo-Pak international border and the Jammu-Pathankot national highway, said officials. “Jammu and Kashmir Police, CRPF and BSF conducted a massive search operation along the International Border to detect cross-border tunnels to pre-empt any possible terror strike during the Amarnath Yatra,” said officials. The annual pilgrimage begins June 30.
Nearly 2.5 crore people residing in villages of Uttar Pradesh will get Gharauni certificates by October 2023, chief minister Yogi Adityanath said here on Saturday. Addressing a gathering, including government officials as well as beneficiaries of the Gharauni scheme, at an event organised to distribute Gharauni certificates to 11 lakh villagers, Yogi said that 34 lakh people have already benefitted from the scheme. According to the population of the Jalaun district has got Gharauni certificates.
The arrival of tourists in Kashmir has broken a decade-old record as more than 12 lakh tourists have visited different places in the Valley this year. Officials in the tourism department and tour operators termed this as an exponential hike in tourist influx this year and goods omen for tourism sector of Kashmir.
The Northern Command chief, Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi during his five-day visit to the strategic Ladakh region, reviewed operations preparedness of the Indian Army on the eastern and western sectors and asked the soldiers to remain vigilant and maintain a high order of operational readiness, said officials. General Dwivedi visited the region from June 20 to 24.
A day after the Supreme Court ruled out a larger conspiracy behind 2002 Gujarat riots and expressed the need to proceed against those “disgruntled officers of the State of Gujarat and others” whose “coalesced efforts was to crate sensation by making false revelations,” the Gujarat police on Saturday detained activist Teesta Setalvad, and former DGP of Gujarat RB Sreekumar, from their residences in Juhu and Gandhinagar respectively.