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Punjab Registers 8,147 Stubble Burning Cases So Far; Surpasses Last Year’s Figures

Due to the ongoing paddy harvesting, farm fires are continuously increasing in Punjab.

Shruti Kandwal
Majha recorded the most farm fires this season with 3,587 occurrences, followed by Malwa with 3,517 cases
Majha recorded the most farm fires this season with 3,587 occurrences, followed by Malwa with 3,517 cases

Punjab reported 1,111 farm fires on Thursday, bringing the season's total stubble-burning incidents to 8,147. Since the harvest is early, Majha districts, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, and Gurdaspur have recorded the majority of farm fires to date.

Despite the state government's constant efforts to prevent stubble burning, the cases have increased this year. 

Last year on October 27, 2,139 active fire events were recorded by the satellites of the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), compared to 1,111 active farm fire incidents on Thursday. 279 active fire incidents occurred in the state in 2021.

The total number of stubble burning this season has touched 8,147, which is higher than the previous year when 6,742 cases were reported till October 27. 

In terms of the division by region, Majha recorded the most farm fires this season with 3,587 occurrences, followed by Malwa with 3,517 cases. 1 043 cases have been documented in the Doaba region as of October 27.

The most cases in the state have been reported thus far, 1,738, by Tarn Taran alone. Farmers in this area accuse the government of allowing stubble to burn.

Farmers claimed that the state government's careless actions have pushed them to burn crop residue. 

The majority of the farmers breaking the rules are members of farmer unions. As state president of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee (KSC) and a resident of Tarn Taran district's Naushehra Pannuan village, Kawalpreet Singh Pannu said, "The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has instructed the state government to manage stubble for farmers who own up to 2.5 acres for free. Similar to this, the NGT also ordered that farmers who own between 2.5 and 15 acres must manage their stubble at a cost of Rs 1,000 per acre. However, as the government is inaction, farmers are compelled to burn their stubble.

He further said, “The cost of controlling their stubble is unaffordable for small and marginal farmers. The government should take effective actions to solve this problem.”

According to Resham Singh of Patiala, rains in early October delayed the harvest, reducing the window of time between the harvest of paddy and the seeding of wheat. "I have burnt the straw because the limited time frame prevents me from managing it. Additionally, the union has resolved to burn straws if the government does not provide us with financial support, as promised by AAP.”

Farmer unions have already asked the state government not to register FIRs.

Farm fires started to increase in the Malwa area after Majha. Sangrur, the hometown of the chief minister Bhagwant Mann, recorded 139 cases on Thursday, while Patiala, a nearby city, reported 134 cases.

Only 60% of the crop has been harvested as of now, and when 75% of the crop harvest reaches the grain market the following week, as is expected, farm fires increase. Following that, a PPCB official predicted an increase in farm fires.

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