Friday, March 24, 2023

40 cases of stubble burning detected, 14 challans issued


Chandigarh, October 4: Paddy harvest has begun and so has straw burning. To ensure the region breathes easy this year, the central and state governments are pulling out all stops and have rolled out a crop residue management (CRM) scheme for which Rs 665 crore has been sanctioned to be spent over two years.

Image Source

This season will be a test for initiatives such as setting up custom hiring centres to get rid of the residue in an environment-friendly manner. Will they help curb the release of toxic smoke or will the ban go up in smoke as it did last year?

HT carries out a reality check from the fields of Punjab:

Despite National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders and government efforts, Punjab has seen more than 40 cases of stubble burning since the paddy harvest began in mid-September.

Thirty-four cases have come to light in Amritsar, four in Rajpura of Patiala district, one in Hoshiarpur besides cases in Sangrur. The state government anticipates a rise in burning incidents after October 10 when the harvest will be in full swing.

The revenue department has issued challans to 14 farmers in two villages of Naag Kalan and Ajaibwali in Amritsar district. Each farmer was asked to deposit compensation fixed by the NGT that is Rs 2,500 for burning straw in a field of up to two acres; Rs 5,500 for a field between two and five acres; and Rs 7,500 for a field of more than five acres.

No challans were issued to farmers in Hoshiarpur, Sangrur and Rajpura, officials said, adding their cases were under scrutiny.

Amritsar chief agriculture officer Dalbir Singh Chhina said that farmers who resorted to burning paddy stubble had harvested 1509 basmati variety and were preparing to grow vegetables. “They burnt the stubble to prepare the fields to grow peas as there’s is short window after the basmati harvest,” he said.

For years, Punjab’s farmers have been burning paddy stubble to get rid of the residue before sowing the winter crop but the smog that it causes has become an environmental hazard, particularly in the national capital region.

In 2015, the NGT told the Punjab government to check stubble burning. This year, with the intervention of the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) sanctioned ₹665 crore for the state to give machinery to farmers on subsidy for stubble management. This year, the funds intend to cover machinery requirement of 40% of areas (74 lakh hectares) under paddy cultivation and rest of area in the coming year.

The state government has tied up with the state remote sensing centre to get a daily report on the number of stubble burning cases. Agriculture secretary KS Pannu, who is the nodal officer to check burning of stubble, said a spurt is expected after October 10 when paddy will dry up and be ready for harvest in most parts of state.

The data Punjab has provided to the Centre shows a drop of 37,602 cases of stubble burning post-paddy harvest between 2016 and 17. There were 80,879 cases in 2016 and 43,817 in 2017. Pannu said he was hopeful that the total number of cases this year will be lower than last year.

Kisan Sangharsh Committee president Satnam Singh Pannu said farmers set fields on fire where there’s no alternative. “The state and central governments have not given adequate number of machines to manage stubble,” he said.

The Punjab government on Tuesday deputed 10 administrative secretary-rank officers to check stubble burning. It also appointed officers in 8,000 villages to monitor burning.

In a letter to the NGT, farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said that it was tough to impose a ban on burning stubble because farmers are not financially capable of buying machines even after the subsidy.

He urged the NGT to ask the Centre to release Rs 5,000 per acre for each paddy farmer as compensation for stubble management.

In a bid to check stubble burning, the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) will launch a mobile-based application that will allow citizens to alert the department in real time.

Using the app, a person will be able to click the picture of the field on fire and send it across, which makes it easier for the officials to identify the offender.

At present, officials detect farm fires through satellite images, pick the geographical coordinates of the spot and send alerts to the districts concerned.

PRSC director Brijendra Pateriya said the app — e-Preventive — has been designed to encourage citizens to flag violations in real time to help check stubble burning.

“The mobile app will be launched soon and concerned citizens will be able to help us in spotting the cases of stubble burning,” said Pateriya.

“We have managed to reduce the stubble burning cases in the last two years and an intensive campaign this year is expected to reduce it further,” said Pateriya.

Source Hindustan Times



Punjabi Khurki
Punjabi Khurki
Punjab is no longer just a state but a State of Mind: A way to live!! ...So Let's Burrraaah with Punjabi Khurki!

Share post:




More like this

Covid: Highest weekly case positivity in Himachal, 8 states driving surge

New Delhi, March 23 The government on Thursday said eight...

After passage of the Demands for Grants, Speaker adjourns proceedings for the day

New Delhi, March 23 Lok Sabha on Thursday approved the...

Rahul Gandhi gets 2 years in jail in defamation case; granted bail

Surat, March 23 A court in Surat in Gujarat on...