10K employees to keep tabs on farm fires in Punjab from tomorrow : The Tribune India

10K employees to keep tabs on farm fires in Punjab from tomorrow

1.46 lakh machines not enough: Farmers

10K employees to keep tabs on farm fires in Punjab from tomorrow


Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, September 13

“Maachis di ikk teeli naal kamm mukk jaanda, pher kyun machine di udeek karni (when a single matchstick can clear the field, why wait for machine)” is the most common reply of farmers as they prepare their land ahead of the rabi season.

The government will start recording satellite data from Thursday when farm fires start and the process will continue till November 30.

While majority of the paddy crop was sown around June 20, farmers in a few border areas had gone ahead with short-duration paddy and vegetables.

Officials said border belt comprising Amritsar and Tarn Taran witnessed stubble burning first as vegetable farmers prepare their land for wheat crop.

Jaskaran Singh, a farmer from Malerkotla, said, “Due to a short window between paddy harvesting and sowing of wheat crop, we have no other option than to resort to farm fires. If we sow wheat without removing straw, rabi crop gets infested with pests and weeds.” “Two years ago, I decided not to burn stubble. However, it led to drop in wheat yield,” he said.

Officials of the Agriculture Department said they would create more awareness this time and “low yield cannot be linked to in-situ management of crop residue”.

“From September 15 onwards, we will have 8,000 officials in the field and 2,000 staffers will be monitoring farm fires round the clock,” they said.

Karunesh Garg, Member Secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said, “A mobile app is available with all the officials. As soon as data of farm fires is uploaded, patwari concerned will get a message and he will visit the area. Either some penalty will be imposed or red entry in land records will be made, depending upon the area set on fire.”

Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Dhaliwal said they would distribute 56,000 machines under in-situ management this season. With this, the total number of machines would increase to 1,46,422 from 90,422.

However, farmers said the number of machines was quite less as compared to the area under paddy cultivation (30 lakh hectares). “Machines were not available last year too. It’s easier to burn crop residue than wait for machines,” said a group of farmers from Nabha.

#Agriculture #Environment #farm fires #Malerkotla #Pollution #stubble burning #tarn taran

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