The Punjab witnessed 49% more thatch-burning incidents from September 21 to November 2 compared to the corresponding period last year, according to official data.
The overall tally of stubble-burning incidents in the state during this rice season so far – Sept.21 to Nov.2 – has reached 36,755 from 24,726 in 2019, according to data from the Punjab Remote Sensing Center.
The state experienced 29,156 and 24,428 rice residue incidents in 2017 and 2018 respectively, he said.
Many farmers in the northern state continue to set rice straw on fire despite the practice being banned.
Punjab reported 3,590 incidents of farm fires on Monday, with the highest number of such incidents recorded in Sangrur district being 696, the data showed.
Sangrur is also the epicenter of the farmers’ protest against the central government’s new agricultural laws.
The districts of Bathinda, Ferozepur, Mansa and Patiala reported 425, 307, 301 and 287 stubble fires respectively.
Small-scale farmers argue that it is not economically viable for them to purchase agricultural machinery like seeders, rotavators and super straw management systems on combine harvesters to manage crop residues.
Farmers charge Rs 200 per quintal of bonus on paddy and Rs 6,000 per acre for stubble management.
The government of Punjab has asked the center for Rs 100 per quintal as compensation to allow farmers to manage rice straw without burning it.
Punjab alone produces 20 million tonnes of paddy stubble per year.
Meanwhile, Punjab Pollution Control Board chairman AS Marwaha said instead of pointing fingers at Punjab for pollution in the nation’s capital, Delhi authorities should check internal sources of pollution. .
The President, in a statement, said that the Air Quality Index (AQI) is “satisfactory” to “moderate” in Punjab, while in Delhi it is “very low”.
He wondered how one state with better AQI could create pollution in another state.
Marwaha said towns like Panipat, Sonepat, Jind and Karnal in Haryana have “ poor ” AQI compared to Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and Patiala in Punjab.
He said that the contribution of thatch fires in the Punjab could not be the main factor contributing to the deterioration of the air quality in the NCR, especially Delhi.
On the contrary, he said, it is due to the internal pollution sources of the national capital region and the climatic conditions which develop every year between October and March, which deteriorate the atmosphere in Delhi.
Marwaha added that if stubble burning had been the main reason for the deterioration in air quality, the indoor air quality in Punjab would have shown similar trends as well.
(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)