Stubble burning reported in Gurugram, teams formed to keep a check

By, Gurugram
May 12, 2023 04:39 PM IST

Officials said two cases of stubble burning were reported from Chandu Budhera and Bilaspur area on Thursday morning

After the Haryana Space Applications Centre (Harsac) reported that Gurugram had seen nine instances of wheat stubble burning in the last month, the Gurugram deputy commissioner of police on Thursday formed teams to monitor and control this eco-unfriendly practice prevalent among farmers due to its cost-effectiveness.

Stubble burns in a field in Makdola village on Farrukhnagar road near SGT university on Thursday. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)
Stubble burns in a field in Makdola village on Farrukhnagar road near SGT university on Thursday. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

“Teams led by sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) and police officers will visit locations where we have received reports that stubble burning has taken place and levy fines,” said deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav, adding that the teams have been ordered to submit three weekly reports about the stubble burning incidents and mitigation steps are taken.

Officials said two cases of stubble burning were reported from Chandu Budhera and Bilaspur area on Thursday morning. According to the Harsac data in HT possession, one case was reported on May 7, one on April 26, two on April 24, one on April 23 and two on April 16.

In partnership with Harsac, the district administration is employing geospatial data to detect crop fires and take prompt action. According to experts, this year, cases of stubble burning have decreased, but further vigilance is needed to prevent pollution and encourage alternate, eco-friendly disposal.

Though stubble burning is not widely practised in the district, farmers still use it to dispose of farm waste because it is less expensive and more convenient. Officials said they are trying to resolve this issue and have taken a few steps to ensure farmers use machines and other methods but they need more vigilance in the area.

The district administration imposed a fine of 2,500 per acre on any farmer found burning crop residue last year and urged farmers not to burn stubble because it causes pollution in the city.

However, the fine has not deterred farmers, who find the burning cheaper than the 6,000-7,000 per acre stubble processing cost. According to farmer Anil Kumar, the high machinery and labour cost also incentivises stubble burning.

Similarly, Mukesh Panghal from the Bilaspur area confirmed that despite trying various methods, stubble burning remains the cheapest and easiest solution.

“We set fire to wheat fields after harvesting paddy to clear the way for rice or mustard. But, if we plan to use machinery, we must hire labourers, machinery cost, diesel and other overheads. More than eight litres of diesel are required per hour, so what will we save after investing this amount?” he asked.

Harsac, which uses geospatial data to detect crop fires, alerts the concerned deputy commissioner through mobile phone messages. Harsac uses remote sensing (RS), geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) to collect geospatial data, which is used to take immediate action against farmers who burn stubble.

According to officials, most complaints come from areas prone to stubble burning such as Chandu Bhudhera, Pataudi, Farrukhnagar and Manesar.

“This year, there are fewer cases of stubble burning than in previous years. Our teams regularly visit villages to raise awareness and ensure villagers do not violate the rules by burning crop residue. We keep a close eye on what’s happening in the farms,” Yadav said.

He added that he receives satellite monitoring images every day. “We provided farmers with straw management equipment at subsidised prices. Straw cutters, straw rippers, bailers, and other cutters cut the paddy and mix it in the soil to become natural manure. The straw is also used as cattle fodder,” he said.

Sultan Singh, head of GIS at Gurugram metropolitan development authority and a senior scientist at Harsac, said they have been doing satellite-based monitoring twice daily across Haryana to check stubble burning for the last two years. “For each crop, two sensors are considered for reporting, due to which enforcement agencies find out about burning events and location. They can then focus on those areas with higher events in two ways — by making farmers aware of the ill effects of the practice and by imposing fines if required,” he said.


    Leena Dhankhar has worked with Hindustan Times for five years. She has covered crime, traffic and excise. She now reports on civic issues and grievances of residents.

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