Punjab has recorded 6,318 new incidents of stubble burning on Saturday alone. The highest number of 952 incidents was recorded in the Sangrur district. The state had recorded 37,777 incidents in 2017, 33,687 in 2018 and 45,114 in 2019. As per data released by Ludhiana based Remote Sensing Centre, this year, the state has already recorded 59,228 cases irrespective of the ban on stubble burning and steps taken by central and state governments.
Farmers claim ‘it is inexpensive to burn stubble’
Despite efforts to raise awareness about the environmental impacts, farmers are claiming that hiring or purchasing machines like combine harvest, super seeders, and super straw management systems to manage crops is a costly deal for them. Burning the stubble is easy and cheap. They are demanding Rs.200 per quintal or Rs.6000 per acre compensation on paddy for straw management. The Punjab government has demanded Rs.100 per quintal compensation from the central government.
A woman died in stubble fire
In a recent incident, an elderly woman named Manjit Kaur was burnt alive after the scooter she was riding entered stubble fire as it lost control. As per the reports, she was going to Bhikiwind on a scooter with her grandson, Lovepreet Singh on Saturday. He lost control as he could not see the road because of the smoke from stubble burning. Lovepreet narrowly survived the incident while Manjit Kaur suffered 80% burns on her body and succumbed to her injuries. A case under Section 188 has been filed against the farmer who burnt the stubble. Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh said that two people had lost lives due to stubble burning in Punjab this year.
Strict action against farmers in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh government has registered cases against the farmers for burning stubble despite of a blanket ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal. On 5th November, cases in Salempur were reported against 18 farmers for burning stubble. SDM Omprakash Baranwal said that farmers must use adequate machinery for stubble management, and if any farmer is found burning stubble, cases will be registered as per law.
240% rise in stubble burning cases in Punjab
As per a report published by the Central government in October, stubble burning has increased by 240% in 2020. The center said that the farmers often grow vegetables between rice and wheat crops. To prepare the fields quickly for vegetable plantation, they prefer to burn the paddy stubble and clean the farm.
On the other hand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have seen a 30% and 33% drop, respectively, in stubble burning cases. All three states have targets of machine distribution where Punjab performed poorly. Against the target of 27,000 machines, Punjab had distributed only 14,000 by October 23rd. In the case of Haryana, the state had achieved 70% of the target, and UP had achieved 69% of the target of machine distribution by the same date.