The number of stubble-burning cases in Punjab so far has been five times more than those reported during the corresponding period over the past two years.

According to the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, 1,692 cases of burning paddy straw were reported between September 21 and October 7 this year. The number was 302 and 307 between the said dates during 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The maximum cases this year are from Amritsar (857), followed by Tarn Taran (366), Patiala (104), Gurdaspur (95) and Ludhiana (50). Saudagar Singh Ghudani of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) said, “Farmers are forced to burn stubble as they don’t get any help from the government. Last year, it was announced that the government would give bonus to the farmers for not burning stubble, but nothing has been paid till date. We also demanded that the poor farmers be provided free machines for the purpose, but to no avail.”

Experts, however, maintain that these are only initial trends and the situation will improve in the coming days. Dr Anil Sood, Head of Agro-ecosystems and Crop Modelling at the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, said paddy harvesting began late in 2018 and 2019 due to rain. “That’s why cases of stubble burning are initially high this year. I hope the situation will improve soon,” he said.

Member Secretary of the PPCB, Krunesh Garg said Rs 11-lakh environmental relief had been imposed in 420 cases of stubble burning so far.

Source: The Tribune, October 09, 2020