8K nodal officers to check farm fires in Punjab

Reports of straw burning pour in from the Majha belt

8K nodal officers to check farm fires in Punjab

The Punjab Government has appointed 8,000 nodal officers in paddy-growing villages to check burning of straw in the fields.

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 27

The Punjab Government has appointed 8,000 nodal officers in paddy-growing villages to check burning of straw in the fields. These officers will remain deployed in these villages till November 15.

They will work in close coordination with the staff of various departments and the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). Besides preparing lists of persons who have given their land on rent, they will also ring them up to warn that red entries will be made in their land records, if they failed to ensure that there was no burning of straw in their fields.

Moreover, 23,500 more machines will also be made available to farmers for straw management. Reports of farm fires have already started pouring in from the Majha area in the state.

Till date, the PPCB has noticed 129 hotspots in the state on the basis of thermal images shared by the Remote Sensing Authority.

Farmers in Amritsar and Tarn Taran areas have started burning stubble in their fields. Out of 129 hotspots, 56 were confirmed as farm fires.

“In 15 cases, we have levied environmental compensation of Rs 55,000 on the farmers concerned, while the farm owners in the remaining 41 cases are yet to be identified,” said PPCB Member Secretary Karunesh Garg.

In 2019, the SC had asked Punjab to act against those burning stubble. Environment compensation of over Rs 6 crore was levied in respect of 52,000 cases of farm fire. While 1,750 FIRs were registered and 250 cases filed in the court, a sum of only Rs 2 lakh could be collected from erring farmers. Over 23,000 red entries were also made in the land records of such farmers.

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