Punjab sees record 11,844 stubble fires this season - ECAS Punjab

Punjab sees record 11,844 stubble fires this season

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Tribune News Service
Patiala, May 23

Adamant not to follow court orders and guidelines issued by the state government, farmers in Punjab have broken all previous records with highest-ever cases of stubble burning. The situation has become alarming in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that affects lungs and given the scenario, the paddy stubble burning cases are likely to rise.

Following shortage of labour to prepare their fields for the paddy season starting next month, farm fire figures touched 11,844, the highest since 2018. In 2019, the number was 10,114. The period in all these years was from April 15 to May 22. Moga and Ferozepur top the chart with 1,016 and 972 cases, respectively, in this post-harvest season.

Till date, as against the Rs 6.10 crore penalties already imposed against farmers by the state agencies, a little over Rs 1 lakh has been collected only.

As per information collected by The Tribune, over 2 lakh farm fire incidents have been reported in the past seasons from 2017 to 2020, but only a few farmers were penalised.

Sources said with poor recovery of fines and not enough steps to penalise erring farmers, hundreds of them resorted to burning stubble. "No outfit or leader is willing to speak on this issue, fearing a political backlash from the farm community. Not a single politician or party has assured Punjab residents of a smoke-free agriculture. Our children are getting asthmatic and our groundwater is depleting. Yet no one is bothered," say environmentalists.

Wheat stubble is used to make dry fodder for cattle and farmers burn only the leftover roots. These roots can be easily mixed in the soil, but some farmers burn them as it is an easy way out.

State Agriculture Secretary Kahan Singh Pannu said, "We have been holding awareness drives, registering FIRs and challaning the erring farmers. It is high time some strict action is taken. No one has the right to pollute our environment."

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3gkiNlQ

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