Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 13
Haryana recorded the worst air quality in the country today with Hisar and Bhiwani emerging as the most polluted places, as stubble burning incidents in the state crossed 6,000.
The air quality index (AQI) in Hisar was recorded at 476, followed by Bhiwani (471), Noida (470), Ghaziabad (467) and Manesar (463). The AQI of 401 and above (“severe” category) can cause respiratory problems among healthy individuals and have a serious impact on those with existing diseases.
Of the 19 places with AQI in “severe” category, 12 were in Haryana — Gurugram (447), Faridabad (446), Jind (445), Dharuhera (431), Fatehabad (430), Sirsa (415), Rohtak (412), Panipat (408) and Palwal (401).
Besides, seven places recorded AQI from 301-400 (“very poor”) — Bahadurgarh (397), Narnaul (380), Mandikhera (376), Ballabhgarh (327), Kurukshetra (321), Karnal (316) and Kaithal (313).
The “very poor” category can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. “There is a possibility that stubble burning in Punjab is affecting air quality in Haryana as we are recording comparatively fewer farm fires,” said S Narayanan, Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).
Despite efforts by the state government, stubble burning incidents in the state reached 6,099 between September 25 and November 12. This is 20.4 per cent lower than last year when 7,665 incidents were recorded during the corresponding period. This year, the maximum number of farm fire incidents were recorded in Kaithal (1,208), followed by Fatehabad (1,153), Karnal (1,090), Kurukshetra (720), Jind (529), Ambala (367), Sirsa (345), Palwal (202), Yamunanagar (202) and Hisar (112), said Narayanan.
As many as 1,528 FIRs had been registered in Haryana so far and Rs 10 lakh collected as fine from farmers, said Ajit Balaji Joshi, Director, General Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department.
The government has recently started offering farmers Rs 1,000 per acre as operational charges for in situ and ex situ management of paddy stubble besides providing them Rs 100 per quintal of non-basmati paddy for not burning stubble. The operational cost of Rs 1,000 per acre will also be applicable on paddy variety “1401-Muchhal”.
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