Punjab sees 30% dip in farm fires; encouraging trend, says expert : The Tribune India

Punjab sees 30% dip in farm fires; encouraging trend, says expert

2022: 49,922 | 2021: 71,286

Punjab sees 30% dip in farm fires; encouraging trend, says expert


Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 30

With the farm fire season coming to an official end for this year today, the state reported 49,922 incidents of stubble-burning. The number is a lot less than the tally of two years. On the last day of the season, the state reported 15 cases of farm fire.

The state records stubble-burning data from September 15 to November 30 every year after the harvesting of paddy.

Enforcement measures

  • 8,441 village/cluster/ tehsil/district-level officers appointed for themonitoring exercise
  • PRSC carrying out satellite monitoring
  • Three-tier monitoring at cluster, tehsil and district level being carried out
  • Orders under Section 144, CrPC, passed to prohibit burning of paddy straw
  • Mobile app made operational for reporting of farm fires
  • Training regarding the operation of app imparted to all field functionaries
  • Control rooms established in each district
  • Orders passed under Section 31-A of the Air Act, 1981, making it mandatory for all combines to have SuperSMS system fixed

Awareness drives

The trend is encouraging and shows that awareness campaigns and in-situ and ex-situ management of paddy stubble was carried outin a better manner. -- An agriculture officer

On the decline

With continuous efforts of all stakeholders, the area on which paddy stubble is burnt is expected to decline in future. A comparison of data of the past three years shows that farm fires are on the decline in the state. -- Karunesh Garg, PPCB member secretary

As compared to 76,755 farm fires in 2020 and 71,286 incidents in 2021, the state reported a sharp decline with only 49,922 farm fires this year.

“The trend is encouraging and shows that awareness campaigns and in-situ and ex-situ management of paddy stubble was carried out in a better manner,” said an agriculture officer.

Senior government officials said while approximately 10 million tonnes of paddy straw was targeted to be managed through in-situ measures in 2022 (nearly 25 per cent more than last year), nearly 1.8 million tonnes of paddy straw was targeted to be managed through ex-situ measures (nearly 33 per cent more than last year).

“Roughly 14.79 million tonnes of paddy straw was managed this season through in-situ, ex-situ and other measures, which is nearly 22 per cent more than the last season,” said a top official.

Senior officials said the trend from three seasons showed that the state had been slowly but effectively implementing “its policy to curb farm fires”.

While the total area on which paddy was burnt in the state is yet to be calculated, sources said the area burnt was a little over 3 per cent more than last year.

An area of 15,29,400 hectares was set on fire this season till November 27. The data for the corresponding date in 2021 was 15,47,380 hectares. “We expect a little over 3 to 5 per cent more area on which paddy stubble is burnt this season. We will go into the details once the data is received in the coming days,” PPCB member secretary Karunesh Garg said.

“With continuous efforts of all stakeholders, the area on which paddy stubble is burnt is expected to decline with a significant quantum in coming years. The trend of farm fires is declining. A comparison of data of the past three years shows that farm fires are on the decline in the state,” he said.

In 2021, the Punjab Government lured the industry, including distilleries and breweries, in the bid to tackle the menace of farm fires. The government offered to promote stubble use with cumulative fiscal incentives of Rs 25 crore to certain industries.

“Our focus is to ensure that 50 per cent of the stubble is put to industrial use by 2025,” Garg said.

#Agriculture #Environment #farm fires #Pollution

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