Patiala, April 27
Despite fetching higher prices of wheat chaff (toori), farmers continue to burn the leftover stubble to prepare their fields for the upcoming paddy season. The state has already seen over 1,300 stubble-burning cases with over 500 cases recorded in the last two days (almost four times more than the previous year), despite higher prices of chaff due to shortage of fodder in the wake of dry spell.
Farmers claimed that only the leftover stubble was being burnt to clear the fields for the upcoming paddy season. In 2019, Punjab reported 8,921 farm fire incidents while the number was 11,014 in 2020 as compared to 9,806 reported in 2021.
“A majority of farmers in Punjab are taking chaff to Rajasthan, where they are fetching around Rs 3,000 per quintal. Some farmers are selling it in the state as well,” said agriculture officials, claiming that only tiny stubble, which cannot be pulled out was being burnt.
Karunesh Garg, member secretary, PPCB, said, “The farm fire incidents have increased in the last few days. We are hopeful that the incidents will come down as awareness drives and chaff price will stop farmers from burning stubble. With over a month left for paddy, farmers have ample time to prepare their fields for the paddy season.”
“While exact figures will be available later, some 1,300 plus cases are reported already,” he said. Interestingly, the price of chaff has almost doubled when compared with the last year. Last season, chaff was selling for around Rs 1,100-1,500 per quintal, but now it was fetching between Rs 2,800 and Rs 3,000 per quintal.
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