Rise in farm fires as paddy harvest gains pace in Punjab
Incidents of farm fires have started rising in Punjab as paddy harvest is gaining pace across the state. In the year 2017, 911 cases were recorded and 385 in 2018 between September 23 till October 9, this year the satellite imagery has caught 412 cases of stubble being set on fire in the same period. According to the Punjab Pollution Control Board(PPCB), the data was being compiled on a daily basis and there was a strong likelihood that this number would rise in the coming days since the government is in a binding not to impose any environmental fine on farmers setting the crop residue on fire. ” The board is continuously monitoring the situation and sharing the updates with the officials at the district level”, said S S Marwaha chairman of PPCB. The state government is claiming that an all-out effort is being made to encourage the farmers to shun the practice of stubble burning and instead use in-situ stubble management machinery which has been provided to the farmers at subsidised rates. As per the government claims, subsidies have been provided on more than 38000 stubble management machines across Punjab. This year, the government has a target of providing 26000 more machines to the farmers. However, the farmers have been demanding that instead of subsidies on machines, they should be provided with a compensation of Rs 200 per quintal for managing stubble. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has already written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a compensation of Rs 100 for the farmers. Meanwhile, given the westerlies are blowing over the state the ambient air quality in the state is in good bracket so far. The data is collected at the eight continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Khanna, Ropar, Mandi Gobindgarh, Patiala and Bathinda show that the AQI levels are in the bracket of minimal impact on health. On Wednesday, the AQI at Amritsar was recorded at 85 micrograms per cubic metre, at Ludhiana 73 micrograms per cubic metre, at Khanna 70 micrograms per cubic metre, at Mandi Gobindgarh 68 micrograms per cubic meter, at Patiala 80 micrograms per cubic meter, at Ropar 84 micrograms per cubic metre and at Bathinda it was 102 micrograms per cubic metre. Kahan Singh Pannu, state nodal officer to curb stubble burning said the administration was hoping that with awareness campaigns being conducted by various government agencies, including the agricultural department and the stubble management machinery being provided to the farmers across the state, there will be a reduction in the number of fire farms in the state this year. Get Breaking news and Latest News from India and around the world on GlobalPunjabTV.in. Like us on Facebook for news updates.