To dodge govt, farmers come up with novel ways of burning crop residue : The Tribune India

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To dodge govt, farmers come up with novel ways of burning crop residue

Plough fields immediately after setting stubble afire | Burn heaps instead of entire field

To dodge govt, farmers come up with novel ways of burning crop residue

A labourer burns chopped paddy straw at Boparai village of Nakodar on Saturday. Sarabjit Singh



Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, October 28

Owing to strictness by authorities against stubble-burning, farmers across the region have evolved new ways to set the straw on fire and at the same time save themselves from punitive action.

The most common way being adopted by farmers is to quickly run a tractor while the residue on fields is still being burnt. They do this so that the fire remains under control, flames get doused quickly and smoke is not seen from a longer distance. The moot point is that the satellite imagery system used by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) is not able to detect any smoke.

Also since the soil mixes up with ash, the fields do not appear blackened or get spotted from a distance by officials. This technique was being used by a farmer in Mudh village of Nakodar today.

The second method is to plough a tractor in the fields after a combine has been used to harvest the crop. As the paddy straw gets loosened up, its heaps are formed on one corner of the fields after being dragged with a tractor or even manually using hand tillers. These heaps are then burnt. Since there is fire in just one corner of the field and not the entire field, it can be dubbed as “accidental fire” by farmers.

Also, the fields also look completely ash-free. A farmer had deployed his labourers on the job with clear instructions for the same at Boparai village of Nakodar today.

Perhaps for the same reason, PPCB officials of Jalandhar said there were just four incidents of farm fire reported across the district today whereas at least three incidents of stubble-burning were noticed by The Tribune team in Nakodar area alone, that too just within a distance of 5-10 km along the Jalandhar-Nakodar highway.

With more than half of the crop harvested in the region, several farmers have also used mulchers. Farmer Sukhbir Singh of Sammipur village in Jalandhar said paddy fields which he had got mulched on October 23 two days after harvesting his crop, were now ready for potato sowing.

“The mulching leads to fine shredding of the straw, which gets decomposed within five-six days without any watering of the fields. In addition, it has made my soil nutrient-rich and just perfect for potato growing,” he said. Jalandhar PPCB Executive Engineer Sandeep Kumar said: “The incidents of stubble-burning are far less in Jalandhar compared to other districts.”

Many incidents going unreported

PPCB officials said four incidents of farm fire were reported across Jalandhar on Saturday whereas at least three incidents were noticed by The Tribune team in Nakodar area alone.

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