National

Punjab sees an increase in farm fires

Image for representation purpose only.

Image for representation purpose only.  

There has been spike in agricultural fires — a phenomenon that’s known to worsen air pollution — in Punjab in September, and significantly more than fires in September last year, according to officials.

From September 24-26, there were 107 fires according to Krunesh Garg, Member-Secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board. In 2018 there were only 11 fires during the same period. However, in 2016 and 2017 there were 106 and 150 fires from September 27-30 respectively. Mr. Garg, however, said last year’s numbers were unusually low because paddy harvesting was delayed due to the persistence of the monsoon. “This year, harvesting of basmati varieties of rice has already begun and so the apparent rise in September,” Mr Garg said.

Agricultural fires, in which farmers set fire to their fields after harvesting paddy, tend to begin around late September and peak around the last week of October by which time farmers have harvested most of their paddy.

The Centre and the States had declared a “zero tolerance” policy on stubble burning by farmers last year.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 5:07:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/punjab-sees-an-increase-in-farm-fires/article29522219.ece

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