Photos: Farm fires in Punjab and Haryana increase despite assurances

An early harvest season due to weather conditions, a delay in monitoring by local officials due to early procurement of paddy crop as a result and farmers’ protests against the agriculture reform laws have all led to an early spike in farm fires this year in the food bowl states of Punjab and Haryana, officials say. As a result, Delhi and its neighbouring areas are grappling with deteriorating air quality which could aggravate the Covid-19 pandemic. Punjab has seen a three-fold increase in farm fire incidents while Haryana has reported a 71% increase this year as compared to 2019.

Updated On Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST
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A man evades smoke rising from stubble being burned in a field, in Jandiala Guru, near Amritsar on October 16. Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana has gone unabated this year primarily because of the reluctance of the local administration to act against offenders due to ongoing farmer protests in the two states, HT reported. (Sameer Sehgal / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

A man evades smoke rising from stubble being burned in a field, in Jandiala Guru, near Amritsar on October 16. Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana has gone unabated this year primarily because of the reluctance of the local administration to act against offenders due to ongoing farmer protests in the two states, HT reported. (Sameer Sehgal / HT Photo)

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Morning haze envelops the skyline on the outskirts of New Delhi on October 16. The impact of the farm fires is felt in Delhi and its neighbouring areas which are grappling with deteriorating air quality that could aggravate the Covid-19 pandemic in the region, officials say. (Altaf Qadri / AP)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

Morning haze envelops the skyline on the outskirts of New Delhi on October 16. The impact of the farm fires is felt in Delhi and its neighbouring areas which are grappling with deteriorating air quality that could aggravate the Covid-19 pandemic in the region, officials say. (Altaf Qadri / AP)

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A farmer burns straw stubble in a field near Amritsar on October 16. On October 15, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that Delhi’s air pollution problem was because of local factors, but data from the Punjab University’s Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, shows a three-fold spike in stubble burning incidents in Punjab as compared to 2019. (Sameer Sehgal / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

A farmer burns straw stubble in a field near Amritsar on October 16. On October 15, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that Delhi’s air pollution problem was because of local factors, but data from the Punjab University’s Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, shows a three-fold spike in stubble burning incidents in Punjab as compared to 2019. (Sameer Sehgal / HT Photo)

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A farmer burns paddy stubble in a field, in Jalandhar district on October 16. Haryana on the other hand has done slightly better than Punjab with 71% more stubble burning incidents for same period, according to Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC). (PTI)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

A farmer burns paddy stubble in a field, in Jalandhar district on October 16. Haryana on the other hand has done slightly better than Punjab with 71% more stubble burning incidents for same period, according to Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC). (PTI)

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Members of various farmers organizations block toll gates on NH 7 during a protest over the new farm laws, in Patiala on October 15. Stubble burning started at the time farmer bodies were protesting against three farm bills approved in the winter session of Parliament and any action against the stubble burners could have aggravated the situation on the ground, officials in the two states also told HT on condition of anonymity. (Bharat Bhushan / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

Members of various farmers organizations block toll gates on NH 7 during a protest over the new farm laws, in Patiala on October 15. Stubble burning started at the time farmer bodies were protesting against three farm bills approved in the winter session of Parliament and any action against the stubble burners could have aggravated the situation on the ground, officials in the two states also told HT on condition of anonymity. (Bharat Bhushan / HT Photo)

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Labourers load sacks of newly harvested paddy crop on a truck purchased at a grain market, in Bathinda on October 13. An early paddy harvest season was witnessed this year in the two food bowl states because of a long dry period that started in early September and sooner paddy procurement as a result are among causes of increased farm fires this year. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

Labourers load sacks of newly harvested paddy crop on a truck purchased at a grain market, in Bathinda on October 13. An early paddy harvest season was witnessed this year in the two food bowl states because of a long dry period that started in early September and sooner paddy procurement as a result are among causes of increased farm fires this year. (PTI)

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A labourer carries a sack of vegetables at a market in Lucknow on October 14. Local officials also said as ground level functionaries were busy in procurement of the record paddy harvest in the two states, the monitoring of farm fires was poor. But, some farmers also said fields were quickly cleared for growing vegetables which are fetching a good price in retail markets. (Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

A labourer carries a sack of vegetables at a market in Lucknow on October 14. Local officials also said as ground level functionaries were busy in procurement of the record paddy harvest in the two states, the monitoring of farm fires was poor. But, some farmers also said fields were quickly cleared for growing vegetables which are fetching a good price in retail markets. (Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP)

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A blanket of haze covers the India Gate with morning walkers also seen in New Delhi on October 15. Farmers burn paddy stubble to clear fields for sowing of winter wheat crop, 90% of which is procured by the government to sustain the Public Distribution System (PDS). The fires send fumes into air causing massive pollution across the entire northern plains. (Manvender Vashisht/ PTI)
Updated on Oct 17, 2020 05:56 PM IST

A blanket of haze covers the India Gate with morning walkers also seen in New Delhi on October 15. Farmers burn paddy stubble to clear fields for sowing of winter wheat crop, 90% of which is procured by the government to sustain the Public Distribution System (PDS). The fires send fumes into air causing massive pollution across the entire northern plains. (Manvender Vashisht/ PTI)

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