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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

After a brief respite, stubble fires rage again in Punjab

The spurt in farm fires has been noticed a day after the state government announced re-verification of 29,343 small and marginal farmers who were compensated for not burning crop residue.

punjab Updated: Nov 20, 2019 05:24 IST
Mohit Khanna
Mohit Khanna
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
An image released by US space agency NASA shows red dots indicating fires, including those due to stubble burning, in areas surrounding Delhi and rest of North India.
An image released by US space agency NASA shows red dots indicating fires, including those due to stubble burning, in areas surrounding Delhi and rest of North India. (PTI Photo)
         

After a brief lull, farm fires rage again in Punjab with 1,289 incidents being reported from different parts of the state on Tuesday, according to government data. The number of stubble burning cases had remained consistently low in the past four days with 521 incidents on November 18, 352 on November 17, 25 on November 16 and 91 on the previous date.

The spurt in farm fires has been noticed a day after the state government announced re-verification of 29,343 small and marginal farmers who were compensated for not burning crop residue.

Farmers owning 5 acres or less are to be paid a compensation of Rs 2,500 per acre for not burning paddy residue, which is among the major sources of pollution in Delhi-NCR.

The government had disbursed over ₹19 crore to the farmers but it decided to verify the beneficiaries after irregularities were detected.

Hindustan Times reported on Monday that the web portal meant for paying compensation was hacked at two locations in Punjab.

Last week, 1,985 entries from Nathu Majra village in Sangrur were found to be fake after the village sarpanch clarified that number of intended beneficiaries was less than the number of claimants. Also, some dubious entries were found from Fazilka area.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) general secretary Harinder Singh Lakhowal said there were several loopholes in the implementation of the scheme. He said the government had laid down guidelines and compensation was paid only to the farmers with a land holding of five acres or less. But no perks were offered to farmers with large landholding and to the contractual farmers.

“This has triggered resentment among the farmers, leading to rise in stubble burning cases,” said Lakhowal.