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

By, Patiala
Oct 26, 2022 09:03 PM IST

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

Punjab has started to witness an increase in the number of farm fires with the last five days accounting for 55% of the season’s total incidents in the state. Such events will spike in the coming days when the harvesting will be 75% complete.

A farmer burns paddy stubble on the outskirts of Jalandhar in Punjab. (PTI)
A farmer burns paddy stubble on the outskirts of Jalandhar in Punjab. (PTI)

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

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With this, the total number of farm fires this season has touched 7,036, which is higher than 6,463 cases reported in 2021 till October 26, but lower than 16,518 events seen in 2020. The intensity, however, will be increasing in the coming days, officials say.

After Majha, the farm fires have now started peaking in the Malwa belt. At 210, Tarn Taran again clocked the highest number of farm fires on Wednesday. It was followed by Patiala, where 183 cases were reported. Sangrur saw 126 cases, while Ferozepur logged 116 incidents of farm fire.

Tarn Taran has reported the maximum 1,560 cases, followed by Amritsar at 1,139, while Patiala has witnessed 651 such events.

60% crop harvestedso far

As of now, only 60% crop has been harvested. Farm fires pick up when 75% harvest reaches the grain market, which is expected by next week.

“Out of a total 180 lakh MT target, Punjab has so far purchased only 80 lakh MT of paddy. Only about 50% of the produce has reached the grain market. Thus, we are way behind schedule for paddy harvest. Still, we are hopeful that paddy straw burning cases will decrease as Punjab has launched a massive campaign to motivate farmers,” said an agriculture department official.

“Next two weeks are very crucial. The state government has already asked field staff to remain on toes and motivate farmers for ex-situ and in-situ handling of straw. The best thing is that people are now willingly selling bales for ex-situ management as some power plants are buying the residue bales. Besides, that there is an increase in the trend of using super seeders for direct sowing of wheat,” said a Punjab Pollution Control Board official.

As far as air quality is concerned, the AQI has turned ‘poor’ in Amritsar and other neighbouring districts. Amritsar recorded 298 AQI level, which is only two points lower than of ‘very poor’ category.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A special correspondent, Vishal Rambani is the bureau chief at Patiala. He covers politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues, with several investigative stories to his credit.

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