Increase in wheat stubble burning incidents in HaryanaUpdated: Jun 05, 2019 21:11 IST
An increase of 25.56% in wheat residue burning has been reported in Haryana in April and May this year, compared to the same period in 2018.
The government data accessed by the HT shows that between April 15 and May 31, incidents of wheat crop stubble burning has jumped to 7,383 from 5,880 cases last year in the same period. The emission of particulate matter during crop stubble burning is one of the major reasons for increased air pollution in north-western states.
S Narayanan, member-secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), said, “Increase in stubble burning this season can also be attributed to accidental fire on agricultural land and also to recently held general elections. Government officials in enforcement agencies were assigned (election) duties, due to which they couldn’t perform well in curtailing the incidents.”
This season, the highest number of cases — 1,051 — was reported in Karnal, followed by 740 in Sonipat, 730 in Jind, 603 in Panipat and 580 in Kaithal. In Gurugram, active burning was reported on 71 instances.
The monitoring agency, Haryana Space Application Centre (Harsac), under the state’s science and technology department, found the maximum number of fire incidents in the state was reported on May 13, with 731 incidents of active stubble burning. The highest number was 106, in Karnal, followed by 103 in Kaithal.
“Wheat stubble burning in summer is not a serious issue compared to paddy burning during winter, when particulate matter settles at lower mixing heights in the atmosphere, closer to the surface. In summer, due to heat and wind, suspended particulate matter is carried further up into the atmosphere,” Narayanan said.
“In the case of Gurugram, Faridabad, Palwal and Ballabhgarh, it is not correct to say that stubble burning deteriorated the air quality. These cities have other external reasons for high pollution level. We are yet to examine the air pollution data with respect to increased incidents of crop stubble burning in the last two months,” he said.
Harsac uses satellite imageries for providing crop fire alerts to the enforcement agencies on a daily basis for immediate action. HSPCB is one of the enforcement agencies, along with the agriculture department.
The state has filed more than 140 FIRs against farmers. According to the data, 14 FIRs were filed until May 20 in Karnal, where the highest number of the incidents was reported. A maximum of 29 FIRs were filed in Rohtak. In Gurugram, of the 71 reported cases, action was taken only in one case.
Atma Ram Godara, deputy director, agriculture, Gurugram, said, “We are still doing our on-field survey to fix the accountability.”
To limit the burning, the National Green Tribunal has made it a punishable offence. A penalty of ₹2,500 per incident has been fixed if a farmer has less than two acres of land and ₹15,000 for those having more than five acres.
“We are yet to identify the area of land on which the burning took place. So far, through our field survey, we have identified 200 locations and ₹45,000, in penalties, has been collected,” said Narayanan.
According to the data, three incidents were reported in Mahendragarh, followed by four in Nuh district. Meanwhile, in the adjoining state of Punjab, 24,497 instances of crop burning have been reported this season.