The paddy residue burning events reported in Punjab are 7,036 compared to 6,463 for the same period during the last year, the CAQM said. About 70% of farm fires were reported only from six districts — Amritsar, Firozpur, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala and Tarn Taran, it added.
Punjab has failed to stop stubble burning and the incidents of farm fires are rising with each passing day. With the increase in cases, air quality in neighbouring Delhi has also deteriorated as stubble burning in Punjab accounted for 22 percent of the national capital's PM 2.5 pollution.
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The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) reported 2,131 farm fires in Punjab on Monday - the highest so far this season, 1,761 on Sunday, 1,898 on Saturday, 2,067 on Friday and 1,111 on Thursday. It logged 70 and 20 cases of stubble burning in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, on Monday.
In the period from September 15 and October 26 this year, Punjab has reported a 9 percent rise in farm fires, while Haryana has recorded a 26 percent decline as compared to last year in the same period. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) said there had been a "significant" rise in stubble-burning\ incidents in Punjab as compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
The commission said it had raised the matter with the Punjab government for effective implementation of the action plan, including strategies for stubble management.
The total paddy residue burning events reported in Punjab were 7,036 compared to 6,463 for the same period during the last year, CAQM said. About 70 percent of farm fires were reported only from six districts — Amritsar, Firozpur, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala and Tarn Taran, it added.
Of the 7,036 reported cases, 4,315 incidents or 61 percent were registered during the last six days alone, the CAQM reported.
The CAQM said the commission had been regularly following up with the Punjab government since February to sensitise the state administrative machinery towards their preparedness to prevent and control the incidents of stubble burning.
The commission stressed on key areas and action points during meetings with the state government. It included speedy procurement of additional farm machinery through fund allocations made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) under the Crop Residue Management (CRM) Scheme during 2022-23; mapping of available machinery in custom hiring centres and optimised use of available CRM machinery including staggering harvesting schedule at village and cluster level.
"Action plan also included expanding bio-decomposer application to supplement in-situ stubble management measures, facilitating robust supply chain towards ex-situ utilisation and intensifying monitoring and enforcement actions," the commission said.
In September 2021, the Aam Aadmi Party had promised to free Punjab from stubble burning. Ahead of the elections in February 2022, Delhi Minister Gopal Rai had said, "Punjab will become free from stubble burning if AAP forms a government in the State. We will rope in the district administrations in Punjab and spray Pusa bio-decomposer in fields for free like we have been doing in Delhi."
Recently, the AAP did a u-turn and Rai blamed the Centre on rising incidents of stubble burning in Punjab. He said the Centre's "blunt" refusal to provide cash incentives to Punjab farmers to avoid stubble burning "has impacted the entire campaign
Rai said the Punjab government had come up with a plan to provide financial assistance of Rs 2,500 per acre to its farmers to dispose of crop residues without harming the environment.
AAP has governments both in Delhi and Punjab.
With inputs from PTI
First Published: IST