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.
Also, the stubble burning incidents have almost doubled in a day as the Sunday count was 206. So far, Punjab has seen 1,847 farm fires. The situation is far better as compared to the last two years when 5,562 and 2,389 such incidents were reported till October 17.
According to the Punjab Remote Satellite Sensing data, the maximum stubble burning cases were reported from the Majha region where the paddy harvesting had commenced earlier. Tarn Taran topped the districts with 170 cases, followed by Amritsar (60), Gurdaspur (47), Kapurthala (23) and Jalandhar (20).
So far, Amritsar has reported 660 field fires, highest in the state, followed by Tarn Taran (561), Gurdaspur (117), Kapurthala (95) and Jalandhar (68). The situation is far better as compared last two years when 5,562 and 2,389 such incidents were reported till October 17.
Farmers in the region set fire to paddy stubble during the end of October and early November, so as to not incur expenses associated with use of multiple stubble management machines, very short time available before the rabi (winter) crop is sown in the first week of November; the lack of transportation services to ship out stubble that has been cut and baled; and other systemic issues.
In the first week of October, the state witnessed 500 cases which was over 65% higher than 2021 when it recorded only 164 such cases whereas it had detected 878 cases in the year 2020. The farm fires, however, were almost 50% less in the second week of October as compared to the last year and 80% less than 2020 during the same period. From October 14 to October 17, the state has seen 778 stubble fires. The figures for the corresponding period in 2021 and 2020 are 1,103 and 2,038.
This year, the two rain spells, between September 21 and 24, and between October 7 and 11, across the northern plains are also likely to have played a part in the reduced fire count so far.
With the harvest season progressing, a senior PPCB official says this number is likely to go up over the next two weeks. “However, we are hopeful that total number of stubble burning incidents will be quite less as compared to the last year as per the current trend,” he added, pleading anonymity.
A BKU leader, Kashmir Singh, said that the central and state governments have failed provide adequate financial assistance to the farmers for the paddy residue management. “Farmers have been left with no option but to burn stubble,” he added.