Punjab recorded nearly 3,700 stubble burning incidents between September 15 and October 22 and about 60 per cent of these were in three districts of Majha region -- Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur.
According to data from the Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Tarn Taran reported 1,034 stubble burning incidents, maximum in the state, followed by Amritsar 895 and Gurdaspur 324. The state overall witnessed 3,696 cases of stubble burning during the period.
Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is one of the reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital region in October and November. And, the situation is often aggravated by bursting of firecrackers around Diwali.
Paddy harvest is complete in 35 per cent of the total cultivated area in Punjab and it will pick up in a day or two, said an official of the state agriculture department.
Crop harvesting got delayed by at least 10 days because of untimely rain in September. Punjab has around 30.84 lakh hectares of paddy area in this Kharif season.
Other districts which have so far seen stubble burning incidents include Patiala (246), Kapurthala (214), Ferozepur (187), Jalandhar (169) and Ludhiana (131).
Pathankot is the only district in the state which has not seen a single stubble burning incident so far this season.
Farm fire incidents have picked up as the state has seen a four-fold increase in such cases since October 10.
Till October 10, the state had witnessed 718 stubble burning incidents.
However, the situation is marginally better this year as of now in comparison to stubble burning incidents in the last two years. Punjab had reported 10,785 and 5,438 such incidents till October 22 in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
On October 22, Punjab saw 582 active farm fire incidents. However, on the same day in 2020 and 2021, the state had seen 1,341 and 1,111 such incidents, according to the data.
Farm fires continued despite the state government assuring more crop residue management machines and launching massive awareness programmes against stubble burning.
As the window for the cultivation of wheat (Rabi crop) is very short after the paddy harvest, farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue. Punjab generates around 180 lakh tonne of paddy straw annually.
The state recorded 71,304 such fire incidents in 2021; 76,590 in 2020; 55,210 in 2019; and 50,590 in 2018 with many districts, including Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda and Amritsar, witnessing large-scale stubble burning.
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