Early harvest key cause of farm fires: Officials - ECAS Punjab

Early harvest key cause of farm fires: Officials

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Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 20

A comparative analysis of farm fire incidents in the state and the arrival and harvest of paddy in the districts shows that the crop arrival has already reached 100 per cent, as compared to around 50 to 60 per cent by this time last season. Districts where almost 100 per cent paddy has been harvested top in farm fire incidents, therefore the number has doubled over the past five days, from 3,517 cases on October 14 to 6,407 on October 18.

Comparison of the data procured from the Food and Civil Supplies Department shows that as against the 4,67,693 metric tonne (MT) of paddy purchased on October 19, 2019, this year the agencies have already procured 5,69,051 MT. “We have already procured 25,38,282 MT of paddy more as compared to the same period in 2019. Also, 62,97,436 MT of paddy has been procured across the state as compared to 37,59,154 MT of paddy in 2019,” a senior official said.

“In districts like Tarn Tarn, Amritsar and Ferozepur, 100 per cent paddy has been procured and the fields are already clear for the next crop. Last year, during this time, 60 per cent of harvesting was still pending,” said Karunesh Garg, PPCB member secretary.

Garg said, “The arrival of paddy is more and therefore, the farm fires have also seen a spurt in the past few days as fields have been harvested much before they were done last year. In districts like Tarn Tarn, Amritsar and Ferozepur, 100 per cent paddy has been procured and the fields are already clear for the next crop. Last year, during this time, 60 per cent of harvesting was still pending.”

The state government has already imposed environmental compensation in 1,124 cases with fines of Rs 31.22 lakh imposed while another 1,082 cases are under scrutiny where compensation would be imposed in a few days. Data procured from the government states that as many as 26 cases under the Air Act 1981 have been filed while seven FIRs have been registered against erring farmers for burning stubble.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that Punjab saw 80,879 cases of stubble burning in 2016, while the number dropped to 43,814 in 2017, only to rise again to 50,479 in 2018 and around 48,155 in 2019 (till November 11). Maximum challans were issued in 2018 and a fine of Rs 1.37 crore was levied on defaulters.

“Some erring farmers refused to deposit the fine and even took officials hostage when they were approached in this regard. Investigation in many cases is still pending as the farmer unions have threatened agitation,” said an official.

Air quality in Punjab remains between moderate to poor during most part of the year, but it ranges from very poor to nearly severe after the paddy season.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3o72Qnj

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