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Vishal Rambani

Vishal Rambani is an assistant editor covering Punjab. A journalist with over a decade of experience, he writes on politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues. He has several investigative stories to his credit.

Articles by Vishal Rambani

Punjab clamps down on gun culture: 274 arms licences suspended in Patiala

Patiala DC says action taken against those with more than two weapons per licence; show-cause notices also issued, asking holders why licences should not be cancelled

The Punjab government had on November 13 banned the public display of firearms, including on social media, and songs allegedly promoting gun culture and violence, as it tightened regulation after facing flak from the opposition over the law and order situation. (Representative photo)
Published on Nov 19, 2022 01:20 PM IST

Naib tehsildar recruitment scam: Second-rank holder among two in Punjab Police net

Patiala police on Friday arrested two persons, including the second rank holder, in the naib tehsildar recruitment scam

Patiala senior superintendent of police Varun Sharma said during the interrogation, Balraj Singh confessed that he had struck a deal to secure the job through a Haryana-based racket. (HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 19, 2022 12:04 AM IST
By, Patiala

Registration of BS-IV vehicle: VB takes over probe, at least 15 PCS under the lens

The transport department had recently blacklisted 5,706 BS-IV vehicles registered fraudulently after April 1, 2020

A maximum of 912 illegal BS-IV vehicles are registered in Bagha Purana, followed by 820 in Patti, 475 in Bhikhiwind, 336 in Tarn Taran, 258 in Pathankot, and 196 in Dera Bassi, the probe revealed.
Published on Nov 17, 2022 06:34 PM IST

At least 15 Punjab officers in dock as BS-IV vehicle registration scam unfolds

Transport department had recently blacklisted 5,706 BS-IV vehicles registered fraudulently after April 1, 2020

Calling it a major scam, Vikas Garg, secretary, transport, said it was an example of organised crime committed by forging documents and registering SUVs without paying taxes. (Image for representational purpose)
Published on Nov 15, 2022 12:58 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab logs 3,916 farm fires in a day, highest this season

As the window for wheat is very short after paddy harvest, farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue. Punjab generates around 180 lakh tonnes of paddy straw annually

With paddy harvesting in its last phase and the deadline for sowing wheat approaching, Punjab on Friday clocked 3,916 cases of stubble burning, making it the highest number of farm fire incidents so far this season.
Published on Nov 12, 2022 01:00 AM IST

Punjab illegal mining mafia kingpin Rakesh Chaudhry held in Rupnagar

Punjab irrigation and mining minister Harjot Singh Bains terms it biggest-ever crackdown on illegal mining mafia; arrest triggers panic in Congress camp as former ministers enjoyed good equation with Chaudhry

In a major crackdown on the mining mafia, Punjab Police on Friday arrested contractor Rakesh Chaudhry of Jammu for illegal mining in Rupnagar and Mohali districts. (HT file photo)
Updated on Nov 11, 2022 05:02 PM IST

Punjab’s AQI improves even as farm fires see minor jump

As the window for rabi crop wheat is very short after paddy harvest, farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue. Punjab generates around 180 lakh tonnes of paddy straw annually

Punjab’s air quality index (AQI) improved a bit on Thursday even as the state saw 1,893 stubble burning incidents on Thursday against 1,778 reported a day before.
Updated on Nov 11, 2022 12:32 AM IST
ByVishal Joshi and Vishal Rambani

Farm fires choke Punjab, air quality slips to severe, very poor category

State detects 1,778 stubble burning incidents on Wednesday, with Muktsar district topping the chart with 220 farm fires, followed Fereozpur 198, Faridkot and Bathinda 185 each

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Khanna and Ludhiana turned ‘severe’ at 417 and 409, respectively, and ‘very poor’ in Amritsar at 333, Jalandhar at 334 and Patiala at 374.
Published on Nov 10, 2022 01:17 AM IST

Anand Marriage Act to be implemented in Punjab: CM Bhagwant Mann

Punjab chief minister makes announcement after paying obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib on Parkash Purb of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann with wife Dr Gurpreet Kaur at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib on the occasion of the Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev on Tuesday. (Facebook)
Published on Nov 08, 2022 04:17 PM IST

Punjab farm fires nosedive to 599, lowest since October 25

Punjab on Sunday registered 599 cases of farm fires, lowest since October 25and over four times less than what was reported the previous day

The thick layer of smog which had enveloped Punjab was also dispersed by strong winds. (ANI)
Updated on Nov 06, 2022 11:03 PM IST
ByVishal Rambani and Vishal Joshi, Bathinda/patiala

Punjab sees 2,666 stubble fires, over 90% in Malwa

The Air Quality Index (AQI) has turned ‘very poor’ in several parts of Punjab as stubble fires continue unabated. Out of the 2,666 incidents, 92% cases were reported from the Malwa region

On Thursday, satellites detected 2,666 active stubble fire incidents in Punjab whereas on the same day (November 3) in 2020, 2,413 active incidents were captured. (HT File Photo)
Published on Nov 04, 2022 12:54 AM IST
By, Patiala

Fewer farm fires in Punjab; 1,501 farmers penalised in Haryana

Of the 2,666 incidents on Thursday, 92% cases were reported from the Malwa region. Sangrur recorded the highest farm fire count for the seventh consecutive day as 452 cases were reported form the district.

Of the 2,666 incidents on Thursday, 92% cases were reported from the Malwa region. Sangrur recorded the highest farm fire count for the seventh consecutive day as 452 cases were reported form the district. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT Photo)
Published on Nov 03, 2022 11:50 PM IST
ByVishal Rambani and Neeraj Mohan

At 3,634, farm fires leap to another high in Punjab

Punjab on Wednesday recorded 3,634 farm fire cases, which was not only the highest in a day for the current harvesting season but also the highest in the last three years for November 2.

With the harvesting season at the fag-end in many parts of Punjab, farm fire incidents have seen a spurt in the state as farmers use stubble burning as the easiest way to clear residue to prepare fields for the Rabi crop. (HT File Photo)
Published on Nov 03, 2022 12:32 AM IST
By, Sangrur

Wind speed brings down AQI but farm fires double

Farm fires in Punjab surged to their highest levels this season, prompting experts to sound warnings of severe air pollution in the Capital in the coming week even though there was a slight respite on Wednesday, and sparking a political war of words over the annual crisis.

Heavy smog has been deteriorating the city’s air quality, as seen here early morning at Majlis Park in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, November 2, 2022. (HT Photos)
Updated on Nov 03, 2022 12:56 AM IST
ByJasjeev Gandhiok, Soumya Pillai and Vishal Rambani, New Delhi/sangrur

No respite from Punjab farm fires, Sangrur leads the count again

According to the state’s agriculture department, the district has witnessed the highest number of farm fires every Kharif season since 2016, when the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre started mapping farm fires through satellite

On Tuesday, a total 1,842 cases were reported in Punjab out of which 345, almost 20%, were from Sangrur district. Over the past week, Sangrur has topped the list every day. (HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 02, 2022 03:12 PM IST
By, Sangrur

Brothers’ mantra for stubble trouble: Why burn when you can earn

While the Punjab government is arranging visits of state industrialist to Shree Ganesh Edibles Pvt Limited, Amloh in Fatehgarh Sahib district, to see and adopt the technology, businessmen from Maharashtra, Gujarat and neighbouring Haryana are keen to replicate the model

Hans Raj Garg with a Dutch expert at his Amloh unit. Around 500 farmers are associated with us, says Hans Raj who runs the unit along with his brother Puneet.
Published on Nov 01, 2022 08:20 PM IST

Punjab has 80% of stubble burning cases in North India: Central body

With the spike in farm fires, the air quality index of the state has also started deteriorating.

Smoke billows from the burning paddy stubble at a field in Jalandhar on Saturday. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 30, 2022 06:47 AM IST
By, Patiala

At 2,067, stubble fires double in a day in Punjab

In a major spike in the stubble burning, Punjab recorded 2,067 farm fires on Friday, which is not only the highest of this season so far but is almost double the previous day’s figures

Commuters make their way past the burnt fields on the outskirts of Jalandhar on Friday. (ANI)
Updated on Oct 29, 2022 05:07 AM IST

Farm fires: Punjab surpasses last year’s figures

On Thursday, Punjab recorded 1,111 farm fires, taking the number of stubble-burning incidents to 8,147. So far, the majority of the farm fires have been reported from Majha districts

With the paddy harvest going on in full swing in Punjab, the number of farm fires has started increasing and is likely to peak by the next week. (AFP File Photo)
Published on Oct 28, 2022 02:13 AM IST
ByVishal Rambani & Anil Sharma, Patiala/tarn Taran

Farm fires in Punjab pick up as harvest winds up

Farm fires are expected to get more intense now with the farmers wrapping up harvest late this year due to heavy rains in September. The late surge, however, provided the much needed relief to Delhi-NCR where air quality on Diwali remained relatively cleaner both because of amenable weather conditions as well as lower contribution of farm fires to air pollution

A farmer in Ghaziabad sets fire to his crop. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
Published on Oct 27, 2022 12:16 AM IST

Punjab saw 55% of this season’s farm fires in last 5 days

Satellites of Punjab Remote Sensing Centre on Wednesday detected 1,238 active fires in the state; on October 26 last year, there were just 329 active fire events while in 2020, 2,047 incidents were captured

A farmer burns paddy stubble on the outskirts of Jalandhar in Punjab. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 26, 2022 09:03 PM IST
By, Patiala

Guidelines go up in smoke, air quality dips in Punjab post-Diwali

Though the govt claimed a reduction in pollution vis-à-vis the previous Diwali, Punjab’s air quality index dropped from 153 (moderate) to 224 (poor) in a day

A family watches fireworks on the occasion of Diwali in Amritsar on Monday. (Sameer Sehgal /HT)
Published on Oct 26, 2022 12:51 AM IST

Diwali cracker guidelines go up in smoke, air quality dips in Punjab

Diwali night witnessed the highest number of farm fires of this season as 1,019 incidents were reported from Punjab. Tarn Taran, Patiala and Gurdaspur districts recorded over 100 farm fires each

Diwali night witnessed the highest number of farm fires of the season as 1,019 incidents were reported from Punjab. Tarn Taran, Patiala and Gurdaspur districts recorded more than 100 farm fires each. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 25, 2022 03:36 PM IST

Unlicensed firecracker sales rule the roost in Punjab, ‘green cracker’ shoppers disappointed

The shops, stalls selling crackers without following the guidelines could be seen in most of the localities including those markets which are not accessible to the fire tenders.

Administration and police had already designated some particular locations for the sale of crackers but this has been violated. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 23, 2022 10:57 PM IST
ByVishal Rambani/Anil Sharma, Patiala/amritsar/jalandhar

At 582, farm fires in Punjab jump to daily high, but no drastic drop in air quality

Apart from Mandi Gobindgarh, where the air quality index jumped to 226, considered “poor”, the air quality in most of Punjab was within “moderate” or “satisfactory” levels

The total number of farm fires in Punjab so far this year has reached 3,696, which is still lower than 5,438 cases in the same period last year. (AFP)
Published on Oct 23, 2022 01:16 AM IST
By, Patiala

Freebies’ fiscal cost: Punjab doles out 50-cr daily power subsidy

State’s subsidy bill has reached to whopping ₹24,865 crore, including arrears of ₹9,020 crore, for providing free electricity but state has managed to pay only ₹8,611 crore.

Around 80% consumers are benefitting from the free power scheme of Punjab government. (Representational image)
Updated on Oct 20, 2022 11:22 PM IST
By, Patiala

70% stubble burning cases in Punjab from Majha alone

Of the total 2,625 stubble burning cases reported in Punjab so far this year, 1,823 cropped up in Majha region alone

AAs per government data, in Majha region, Tarn Taran leads with 807 cases so far, followed by Amritsar with 788 and Gurdaspur with 228. (AFP)
Published on Oct 20, 2022 01:01 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab sees two-fold jump in farm fires in a day

Another highest-single day spike as 403 incidents reported on Monday, Tarn Taran tops state with 170 cases

Farm fires are raging on in Punjab, with the state on Monday witnessing 403 incidents --- the highest single-day spike this season. (ANI file photo)
Published on Oct 18, 2022 12:13 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab allows use of green crackers for 2 hours on Diwali, Gurpurb

The order says that on Diwali (October 24) and Gurpurb (November 8), green crackers can be burst from 8 pm to 10 pm and in two shifts from 4 am to 5 pm and 9 pm to 10 pm respectively

Citing better AQI, the Punjab government announced its decision allows the use of green crackers for 2 hours on Diwali and Gurpurb. (HT File)
Published on Oct 13, 2022 03:25 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab | Farm fires likely to rebound as rain delays paddy harvesting

With the region witnessing overcast skies and a temperature dip in the midst of the paddy harvest season, worries of the Punjab agriculture department pertaining to farm fires have increased manifold. Experts say farmers are more likely to burn stubble to make up for the lost time and quickly prepare their fields for the next crop

Though the farm fire count till now this year is comparatively lower in Punjab, experts say that it may go up to around 3,000-4,000 by late October and early November. (HT Photo)
Published on Oct 11, 2022 01:58 AM IST
ByGurpreet Singh Nibber & Vishal Rambani, Chandigarh/patiala
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