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Punjab farmers defy stubble burning ban, incidents soar past 52K


Punjab_fa

CHANDIGARH:  Punjab has surpassed last two years figure of stubble burning incidents with 52,942 farm fires being reported against 51,751 last year, according to Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data.

Farmers unions are openly calling on farmers to defy the ban on stubble burning despite 1,700 cases being lodged already. 

Sangrur with 6,662 incidents, Bathinda 5,798, Ferozepur 5,013, Patiala 3,983 and Muktsar with 3,751 incidents, lead in stubble burning cases between September 23 and November 24. In 2009 the Government had passed the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act which prohibited farmers from clearing their fields early.

As per the Act, farmers can no longer sow rice in April but have to wait until the middle of June. This restriction on sowing means that fields would be cleared only in October by which time the direction of the wind would have changed towards Delhi, causing smog.    

Central Pollution Control Board, Member Secretary, Prashant Gargava said, “Stubble burning has contributed  44 per cent of pollution in Delhi. We have now worked out a forecast model so that effective response plans are put in place. We tied up with IIT-Delhi and made 15-day plans on which areas to focus on.’’ 

Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) said, presently 12 lakh MTs of paddy is being utilised for biomass-based power projects and already ten biomass projects have been completed and commissioned in Muktsar, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Mansa, Moga, Patiala and Jalandhar districts which would use 0.55 million ton of paddy straw per year. Another four biomass projects, besides 10 bio-CNG, bio-ethanol and bio-coal projects are in the pipeline.

Repeat offenders show no restraint
The areas of Sangrur with 6,662 incidents, Bathinda 5,798, Ferozepur 5,013, Patiala 3,983 and Muktsar with 3,751 incidents, lead in stubble burning cases between September 23 and November 24

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)