Stubble burning increased during farmers' protests: Parliamentary panel report : The Tribune India

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Stubble burning increased during farmers' protests: Parliamentary panel report

'Burning events were higher particularly in Punjab and it may be due to protest burning by farmers,' said DARE

Stubble burning increased during farmers' protests: Parliamentary panel report

Photo for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, March 24

Punjab recorded more stubble burning events during the period farmers were protesting against now-repealed farm laws, according to a report submitted to the Parliament by the department-related Parliamentary Panel.

Burning events are monitored by multiple satellites with thermal sensors during the harvest period from October 1 to November 30 in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the Department of Agricultural Research and Education under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare told the Panel.

“The burning events recorded during 2019 in the three states were 52% less as compared to 2016. However, during 2020 and 2021 they were 89,430 and 102,379 respectively, as compared to 61,332 during 2019,” it said

“The burning events were higher particularly in Punjab and it may be due to protest burning by farmers of Punjab. The efforts made have resulted in 52 % reduction in crop residue burning incidents as compared to the base year 2016,” DARE told the Panel headed by Bagalkot MP PC Gaddigoudar when asked about the steps taken to mitigate the problem of Stubble Burning in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi, causing air pollution and how far they have been successful in mitigating/containing the problem.

Notably, under the Central Sector Scheme on “Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi”, Rs 1151.80 crore were allocated for two years (2018-19—Rs 591.65 crore, and 2019-2020—Rs 560.15 crore) and Rs 600 crore in 2020-22.

During four years, as many as 2.13 lakhs machines were supplied to the states for in-situ residue management. Currently the department is working on promotion of equipment for in-situ management and creating awareness among farmers and other stakeholders against ill effects of crop residue burning on soil fertility and environment.

Notably, episodic events like crop burning are among the other major sources of air pollution in India like vehicular emissions, power generation, industrial waste, biomass combustion for cooking and the construction sector.

While appreciating the efforts made so far by the department, the committee recommended them to develop technologies and equipment and bio-decomposers for in-situ management of residue that can be bought by poor farmers. The panel also asked it to create awareness among farmers through demonstrations, training programs, ‘kisan melas’, leaflets/pamphles to contain stubble burning and consequently reduce air pollution.

“Air pollution due to stubble burning in various parts of the country and specifically in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi, has been a major concern and to contain and mitigate this perennial problem, in-situ management of crop residue is required,” the panel said.

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