Delhi to breathe easy as stubble burning incidents drop

A farmer burns stubble in a rice field in Zirakpur in Punjab. REUTERS

Clogged by a thick layer of smog every winter due to rampant stubble burning in agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana, Delhi and the national capital region are likely to breathe easy this time around.

Satellite images show a drastic drop in the number of instances of stubble burning in both states that were squarely blamed for Delhi’s polluted air quality.

Haryana, in-fact, on Friday claimed "99% success in its drive to curb stubble burning" during the current harvesting season. Punjab, too has claimed
"phenomenal success" amid protests from farmers who have been burning stubble openly, cocking a snook at the rules. The government has said a reduction of about 70% in stubble burning cases has been recorded this season. 

Punjab Secretary, Agriculture, K S Pannu said that data from Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) depicts that 3,228 cases of stubble burning were reported across the state from September 27 to October 22, 2018 compared to 8,420 and 13,358 cases in corresponding period during the year 2017 and 2016.

Haryana government officials say burning of paddy stubble was only 0.6% of the total area on which harvesting had taken place. Punjab is expecting not more than 12,000 stubble burning incidents this season, a reduction of about 70% compared to last year, Pannu said.

Due to less incidents of stubble burning, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Punjab is "far better now" than that the corresponding period last year. “The AQI of Punjab is 111 currently, against 326 in the corresponding period last year. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered good,” Pannu added.

Over 24,000 subsidized agriculture-machines and equipment were being supplied to farmers and cooperative societies and Custom Hiring Centres to achieve zero burning of paddy straw in Punjab.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Rs 100 per quintal as compensation only for those farmers who abstain from burning paddy residue under the state government’s programme for management of paddy straw.

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Delhi to breathe easy as stubble burning incidents drop

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