Ludhiana, November 11
Cracking the whip against the menace of stubble burning, the administration has fined and blacklisted around 1,000 farmers in the district so far for putting paddy straw to flames during the current kharif season, the government has confirmed.
Situation under control
The situation is fully under control this season and is much better than previous years. Our aim is to motivate maximum farmers to shun the practice of stubble burning and adopt scientific methods of paddy straw management to save environment and soil. Surabhi Malik, Deputy Commissioner
An environmental compensation of Rs 11.35 lakh, which is the maximum in the state, has been slapped on the violators for burning at least 37 per cent of the total 2,58,600 hectare area under paddy cultivation, officials revealed.
However, showing way towards environmental protection, farmers have adopted scientific stubble management in over 54 per cent of the total area under paddy cultivation in the district.
With no let-up in the incidents of stubble burning, Ludhiana on Friday once again became the state’s most polluted city with the worst air quality.
Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Dr Amanjit Singh told The Tribune that a two-pronged strategy comprising awareness and enforcement was underway to check the burning of crop residue.
He said the Agriculture Department, in association with the district administration and allied departments, had been spearheading a sustained campaign to sensitise peasants against stubble burning.
“The drive has evoked a massive response from farmers, a large number of whom are saying no to the practice of setting crop residue ablaze. At the same time, habitual offenders are being dealt with sternly to deter others from indulging in the practice and motivating those adopting scientific management of stubble,” Dr Singh said.
The CAO said 446 farmers had been caught burning crop residue in the district and a fine of Rs 11.35 lakh had been imposed as environmental compensation on them. Another 394 violators had been blacklisted with red entries in their revenue records, he said.
“As per the estimates made so far, an area of 95,682 hectares — which accounts for 37 per cent of the total 2,58,600 hectare area under paddy cultivation — has been burnt by farmers to clear stubble from their fields,” he said.
On the other hand, environment-friendly peasants have adopted in-situ and scientific management of paddy straw in over 1,38,518 hectares, which is almost 54 per cent, of the total area under cultivation.
Dr Singh said 6,824 machines — including 5,504 made available till 2021 and 1,320 delivered during the current season — had been provided to farmers across the district for scientific management of stubble.
“We have also felicitated 120 farmers for saying no to stubble burning and more will be honoured to motivate more and more peasants to adopt scientific management of paddy straw,” he said.
Meanwhile, there was no let-up in stubble burning cases as 296 fresh cases of crop residue burning were spotted by the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) here on Friday. This was much less than the 429 farm fires reported on the same day in 2021, while double more than the 143 fire incidents recorded on the same day in 2020.
With this, as many as 2,030 farm fires have been logged in the district in the current paddy harvesting season since September 15. However, this figure is less than half of the 4,554 stubble burning cases spotted during the corresponding period in 2021 and much less than the 3,846 incidents reported during the same period in 2020 in the district.
On the air pollution front, Ludhiana once again turned the state’s most polluted city on Friday with an air quality index (AQI) of 193, which was considered “moderate”, with PM2.5 concentration 68µg/m³, which is 14 times the World Health Organisation (WHO) annual air quality guideline value, causing breathing discomfort to people with asthma and lung and heart diseases.
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