45% rise in stubble fires in Punjab this year

CHANDIGARH:Air quality in several Punjab cities has deteriorated with farmers continuing to burn stubble despite government orders.

45% rise in stubble fires in Punjab this year

Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 13

Air quality in several Punjab cities has deteriorated with farmers continuing to burn stubble despite government orders. In parts of Majha bordering Pakistan, residents are complaining of a burning sensation in eyes and difficulty in breathing owing to stubble-burning across the border.

As many as 117 incidents of stubble fires were detected by the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) on Sunday and 76 incidents a day earlier. Data with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) shows a 45 per cent rise in incidents of farm fires. Compared to 435 incidents detected till October 11 last year, 630 incidents have been reported in the corresponding period this year.

Dr Brijendra Pateriya, Director, PRSC, Ludhiana, says despite the government efforts to curtail the menace, farmer unions are lending no cooperation. They are demanding additional cash subsidy to either plough the stubble back into the fields or use mechanised means to lift it. Capt Amarinder Singh government provided 28,000 implements to farmers and coop societies last year. This year, already 15,000 (of 23,000 to be provided this year) have been made available. KS Pannu, Secretary, Agriculture, says: “The real picture will emerge only by November. I am sure awareness campaigns will help curb the practice.” 

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