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Posted at: May 23, 2019, 8:00 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 8:00 AM (IST)

Over 600 stubble-burning cases reported from dist

PPCB identifies cases in this harvesting season with the help of remote sensing technique
Over 600 stubble-burning cases reported from dist
Wheat stubble being burnt in Bathinda district. Tribune photo

Sukhmeet Bhasin
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, May 22

Despite efforts of the district administration and the Agriculture Department to create awareness about the ill-effects of stubble burning, a total of 607 such cases have been reported from Bathinda district in this harvesting season.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board has identified the cases with the help of satellite images of the sites where stubble was set on fire. After getting the images through the remote sensing technique, a team is sent to the spot to ascertain the area of the land on which the stubble is set afire.

Despite a ban by the state government, the unhealthy practice of stubble burning goes on unabated in Bathinda district and other parts of the region.

Though the district administration has issued warnings in this regard, hardly any farmer is penalised for polluting the environment.

Experts claim that farmers use wheat residue as fodder for cattle and only the stalk is set on fire. Paddy residue is not used as fodder as it is unfit. Hence, farmers burn both paddy stalk and straw close to autumn every year which is a key contributing factor of pollution, causing breathing problems in the northern region.

According to the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a fine for burning stubble is Rs2,500 for a person holding up to 2 acres, Rs5,000 for land between 2 and 5 acres and Rs15,000 for more than 5 acres.

In the first instance, if a person is caught burning stubble in his fields, a fine is imposed. In the second instance, burning stubble may invite legal action.

A senior official in the district administration, who did not wish to be named, said, “Overall, cases of stubble burning have reduced in the state as compared to the last year. Awareness drives are proving to be beneficial.”

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