Punjab sees 25K more farm fires this year - ECAS Punjab

Punjab sees 25K more farm fires this year

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Aman Sood
Tribune News Service
Patiala, November 27

Despite spending over Rs 1,500 crore on subsidised machinery and advertisement campaigns to curb the rising trend of air pollution, Punjab farmers defied all bans and continued to burn stubble. This post-harvest stubble-burning season, which ended on Thursday, Punjab recorded over 76,000 farm fires this season. This is roughly 25,000 cases more than the last year.

The state government has imposed an environmental penalty of Rs 3.14 crore on defaulting farmers for burning stubble, but merely Rs 6.5 lakh has been recovered. This season, farmers burnt their paddy stubble with impunity in their fields openly and many a times causing smog-like conditions alongside the state and national highways without any fear of authorities.

Officials claimed that Punjab had almost 75,000 machines worth over Rs 1,200 crore to manage the crop residue yet it witnessed over 76,000 incidents, highest in the past three years and more than the combined cases of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Banking on 75,000 machines, the Agriculture Department had expected to manage stubble on 20 lakh hectares and around 40 per cent less cases of farm fires.

Punjab is also providing 50 to 80 per cent subsidy to farmers and cooperative societies to buy modern farm equipment and has spent lakhs of rupees on awareness campaigns against stubble burning.

Senior officials said what was worrying that despite the fact that the area under paddy had decreased by 2.5 lakh hectares due to crop diversification, the farm fires had increased.

A senior PPCB official said as compared to 51,703 farm fires in 2018 and 52,790 in 2019, this season the farmers in Punjab recorded a whopping 76,590 such incidents. "This season has taught us a number of things and there is a need to introspect as despite efforts, there is an increase in the incidents. Either our policies are wrong or farmers are adamant."

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3q7EQRT

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