Other States

Stubble burning incidents down in Punjab this harvest season

Stubble burning is one of the main reasons for air pollution in Delhi and the NCR.  

Farmers in Punjab, the key grain producing State, seem to have exercised restraint in burning the wheat crop residue during the ongoing harvesting season.

The incidents of burning dipped compared to last year, officials told The Hindu. Agriculture experts and officials believe that awareness of the ill-effects is one key reason for it.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) data shows that the State had from April 15 to May 16 witnessed 5,981 incidents of stubble burning as against 9,900 cases reported during the corresponding period in 2018.

Sangrur district topped the list with 553 incidents followed by Bathinda district (548) and Amritsar district (536). Rupnagar district recorded the lowest number 31 this season.

“It’s an indication that farmers are relatively more aware of the ill-effects on health and environment,” said PPCB’s Chief Environmental Engineer Krunesh Garg. “Also we are imposing penalties on farmers as there’s a ban on burning the residue. All the incidents are not deliberate as there are several cases of accidental fire too,” he said.

Wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop, is sown from late October to December while the harvesting usually starts from mid-April onwards.

P.S. Rangi, an agriculture expert and former State Farmers Commission adviser, said it was an encouraging sign. “But we will have to wait till the paddy harvesting season in October-November which the burning is associated with.”

Paddy residue

He said farmers use wheat residue as fodder for cattle and it’s only the stalk that is set on fire. The paddy residue is not used as fodder as it’s unfit and hence farmers burn both the paddy stalk and straw close to autumn every year which is a key contributing factor of pollution causing breathing problems in the northern region.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 5:54:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/stubble-burning-incidents-down-in-punjab-this-harvest-season/article27189804.ece

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