Patiala, April 23
With the arrival of wheat in mandis picking up, Punjab has witnessed around 60 farm fire cases.
Experts say that the number will rise once the wet spell is over and it will continue till mid May as farmers prepare their fields for the paddy season which starts in June.
According to the data available on the PPCB website, Punjab recorded 13,420 cases in 2020, 10,100 in 2021 and 14,511 in 2022. This season, till date, 60 cases have been recorded. Gurdaspur with eight and Bathinda with seven cases lead the chart followed by Patiala, which saw five farm fire cases.
“The early sown variety of wheat is already sold and the farmers, wasting no time at all, have burnt the stubble to prepare their fields for the upcoming paddy season,” said an official.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) starts monitoring stubble burning cases from April 15. Every post-wheat season, Punjab witnesses around 7,000 to 10,000 cases, which gradually increase.
Agriculture Department officials stated that most farmers were making fodder from wheat stubble, which is good for cattle and then they are just setting roots on the fire. “However, we are trying to create awareness among the farmers by advising them that they should avoid it as it will lead to pollution”, they said.
Every year, the district administration levies fines worth crores on the erring farmers, but a majority of them are yet to pay it. “The erring farmers, backed by farm unions, refused to deposit the fine and even take officials hostage,” said an official.
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