Of 10,000 farm fires in Punjab this year, 25% recorded in last 2 days
Patiala The number of stubble burning cases in Punjab has crossed the 10,000 mark this season, which is double the figure for the corresponding period last year.
Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, recorded 2,758 farm fire cases on Wednesday and Thursday, which nearly 25% of the total 10,775 incidents recorded this season. Last year, 4,085 cases were reported for the same period, while the number was 3,229 in 2018.
For the last three years, Punjab government has been taking measures to check farm fires by giving subsidy on the machinery to handle in-situ and ex-situ stubble management, spending above ₹500 crore on subsidy in last two years.
Paddy straw burning is a yearly phenomenon, leading to war of words between states and even ire from the apex court. This year again, the Supreme Court has appointed one of its retired judges to monitor stubble burning.
On Thursday, Tarn Taran recorded highest 240 farm fires, followed by 224 in Ferozepur, more than 100 each in Patiala and Gurdaspur. Pathankot recorded only 3 farm fire cases, the lowest for a district. Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts account for almost 30% of the total cases reported so far, said a Punjab Pollution Control Board official.
With only 60% of the crop harvested, the number of farm fires are expected to peak in the next two weeks. “The number of farm fires will multiply in the next two weeks, when Punjab will record highest cases of the season. Usually the trend starts picking after October 25 and decline after November 10,” said an official of agriculture department. He said that farmers are not adhering to the advice of the government.
Meanwhile, PPCB secretary Krunesh Garg said the Punjab government was working overtime to tackle the menace through awareness and other measures. “Farmers are using machinery for in-situ an ex-situ management. And those who are burning straw will be made to pay environmental compensation,” he said.