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9% YoY rise in Punjab farm fires during Sept 15-Oct 26 period: CAQM

There has been a "significant" nine per cent rise in stubble burning incidents in Punjab between September 15 and October 26 this year in comparison to the corresponding period in 2021

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
There has been a "significant" nine per cent rise in stubble burning incidents in Punjab between September 15 and October 26 this year in comparison to the corresponding period in 2021 which is a "matter of concern", the Commission for Air Quality Management said on Thursday.
It said the total number of farm fires in Haryana has, however, reduced by 26 per cent as compared to last year in the same period.
In view of the spike in stubble incidents, the commission has taken up the matter with the Punjab government for effective implementation of action plan, including strategies for stubble management, the CAQM said.
"As per the standard protocol developed by ISRO for CAQM, between September 15 to October 26, total paddy residue burning events reported in Punjab are 7,036 compared to 6,463 for the same period during the last year, which is a significant increase of about nine per cent,' the commission said in a statement.
It said about 70 per cent of farm fires during the current paddy harvesting season were reported only from six districts Amritsar, Firozpur, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala and Tarn Taran accounting for 4,899 of the total 7,036 incidents in Punjab.
"These traditional six hotspot districts had also accounted for about 65 per cent of the total burning incidents during the last year for the same period," the CAQM said.
The commission further said of the total 7,036 reported cases, 4,315 incidents or 61 per cent were reported during the last six days alone.
It said according to the data up to October 24, only about 39 per cent of sown area in Punjab had been harvested and thus, rising number of fire events is an "alarming situation".
"Based on a broad framework developed by the commission and learning from the past paddy harvesting seasons, a comprehensive action plan was prepared by the Punjab government which included diversification to other crops, low straw generating and early maturing paddy varieties, and in-situ and ex-situ crop residue management," it said.
The CAQM said statutory directions were issued for implementation of state-specific action plan and the commission has been regularly following up with the Punjab government since February to sensitize the state administrative machinery towards their preparedness to prevent and control the incidents of stubble burning.
"For effective implementation of the plan of action, the commission also held consultative meetings with major departments of the Punjab government like agriculture and farmer's welfare, environment, power and Punjab Pollution Control Board,' the CAQM said.
They said the commission has held nine meetings with officials of Punjab government, including five meetings with chief secretary regarding various issues related to stubble burning.
Key areas and action points stressed upon during the meetings were speedy procurement of additional farm machinery through fund allocations made by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) under the Crop Residue Management (CRM) Scheme during 2022-23, it said.
The action plan also included mapping of available machinery in custom hiring centres and optimised use of available CRM machinery including staggering harvesting schedule at village and cluster level.
"Action plan also included expanding bio-decomposer application to supplement in-situ stubble management measures, facilitating robust supply chain towards ex-situ utilisation and intensifying monitoring and enforcement actions," the commission said.
It said review meetings were also held with all deputy commissioners with special focus on hotspot districts.
"Considering the present situation and spike in the stubble burning incidents, the Commission has once again taken up the matter with the chief secretary of Punjab government for effective implementation of action plan including all strategies for stubble management and appropriate actions in cases of farm fires,' the CAQM said.
It said the total number of farm fires in Haryana has reduced by 26 per cent as compared to last year.
"Total number of farm fire events reported between September 15 to October 26 is 1,495 compared to 2,010 for the same period last year. There is about 26 per cent reduction in paddy residue burning events in Haryana so far during the current year," the CAQM said.
In a review meeting held with chief secretary of Haryana and deputy commissioners last week, the commission suggested officials to further intensify efforts to control farm fire events in the state.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 27 2022 | 7:24 PM IST

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