With less than a week left for harvesting to begin in Majha where paddy was sown early, Punjab has appointed nodal officers at the village level to check stubble burning. They will report farm fires and take action on the spot.

These officials will have a mobile app that will send live reports for on-the-spot action. The deputy commissioners of Sangrur, Barnala, Bathinda, Patiala, Tarn Taran, Muktsar and Ferozepur have been briefed in this regard, says Punjab Pollution Control Board member-secretary Karunesh Garg.

Experts warn that farm fires may begin by mid-September, aggravating the Covid-19 situation. Sources say a penalty of Rs 6 crore is yet to be realised from erring farmers. Backed by unions, they refuse to deposit the fine. The government had last year announced an incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre for not burning stubble. The scheme was dropped after several panchayats reported it was being ‘misused.’


Source: September 11, 2020, The Tribune