Farm fires: Over 600 booked in Haryana, Punjab
The protesters also demanded withdrawal of cases and revocation of penalties imposed on farmers, stating that they have no other option but to burn stubble in fields due to cost involved in managing it.Updated: Nov 07, 2019 00:42 IST
On the day the Supreme Court pulled up the Punjab government for failing to stop stubble burning and called for zero-tolerance on the issue, the state reported a marginal decline in paddy straw burning with 4,741 active fires reported by the satellite monitoring centre at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
Punjab’s chief agriculture officer, Dr Baldev Singh, said that a team of senior officials from Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would visit the state, probably by end of this week, to study the impact of in-situ management of paddy.
The officials said on Wednesday that 84 farmers were arrested and 174 first information reports (FIRs) were registered in the state, as against 196 farmers booked and 374 cases registered on Tuesday.
The farmers also took out marches protesting police action at a number of places in the state.
In Bathinda, farmers under the banner of Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta – Ugrahan) burnt paddy stubble on over 100 acres of land in Bhucho Khurd village and union leader, Jasvir Singh, said the state government, instead of fulfilling farmers’ demand of ₹200 per quintal or free machinery to manage stubble, was ordering the arrests of farmers.
The protesters also demanded withdrawal of cases and revocation of penalties imposed on farmers, stating that they have no other option but to burn stubble in fields due to cost involved in managing it.
With Wednesday’s fire incidents, 42,676 farm fires were reported between September 23 and November 6 this post-harvest season, which according to officials, was more than those witnessed during the corresponding period in the previous two years.
In 2018, 30,207 stubble burning incidents were reported and 37,463 in the year before that.
In neigbouring Haryana, 265 farmers of Karnal district were booked for stubble burning as total number of fire incidents in the state crossed 5,181. The number is still less than the farm fires reported from Haryana in 2018.
On Wednesday, the Haryana government suspended Deputy Director (Agriculture), Kaithal, Pawan Sharma, for failing to check stubble-burning on the of complaint district deputy commissioner Priyanka Soni.
The air quality in Kaithal on Wednesday was in the “very poor” (301-400) zone.