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More Than 67,000 Farm Fire Incidents Recorded In Punjab So Far

Chandigarh, Over 67,000 farm fire incidents have been recorded across Punjab this season despite penalties imposed by the authorities and efforts made for management of crop residue, officials said on Monday.

Farmers have kept flouting the ban on paddy stubble burning across the state, they said.

More than 1,700 and 2,500 farm fire incidents were witnessed on Monday and Sunday respectively, with Sangrur district accounting for the most of them, they said.

To curb the practice, the state government has so far imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 2.46 crore on erring growers, said an official of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

Punjab has seen 67,165 stubble burning incidents till Monday.

A total of 65,404 farm fire incidents were recorded till Sunday, as against 73,893 registered till November 14 last year, the official added.

Though the number of farm fires this year so far is less than last year, it has crossed the 2019 figures.

Punjab had seen 76,590 incidents of field fires in 2020 as compared to 52,991 in 2019, as per the data.

The farm fires continued unabated despite the state government deputing nodal officers across Punjab to check these and giving more machines for management of crop residue.

Farmers burn paddy stubble in order to clear their fields to sow the next crop, but the fumes of these fires cause air pollution.

According to farmers, it is not feasible for them, especially small and marginal growers, to purchase farm machinery for the management of crop residue.

“We want the government to give us Rs 200 per quintal as bonus for management of paddy straw,” said Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan.

Farmers of Punjab and Haryana are often blamed for causing air pollution by burning paddy straw.

Punjab alone generates an estimated 20 million tonnes of paddy stubble annually. PTI