Stubble fires up, Haryana wary

October 06, 2018 12:46 PM

Punjab News Express
HISAR: Preparations by the Centre and the state government to curtail the practice of burning stubble notwithstanding, Haryana saw a steady increase in such incidents between September 25 and October 5, compared with the corresponding period last year.

The Haryana State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (HARSAC) has identified 77 “active fire locations (AFL)” across the state. Their number stood at 46 till October 5, an increase of 31 fire sites. A thick layer of smog had engulfed the capital and its vicinity last year owing to the the burning of paddy stubble by farmers. The colossal threat to environment made the Centre sit up and it introduced a scheme — Promotion of Agricultural Mechanisation for IN SITU Management of Crop Residue — monitored by the Prime Minister’s office (PMO).
The government allocated Rs 137 crore for the scheme aimed at improving air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR). Haryana, with paddy cultivation on about 13 lakh hectares of land, received Rs 137 crore.

Dr RS Hooda, chief scientist, HARSAC, pointed out that rains had delayed harvesting. Hence, there was hardly any incident of stubble-burning in September. “But the sudden rise in such incidents in October is a worrying trend. Our mobile application has been tracking fire sites and alerting the authorities in the districts concerned, who then issue challans to the offenders,” he explained.
Suresh Gahlawat, Additional Director, Agriculture, said that the outcome of their campaign would be gauged only by the end of November this year when data on punitive measures undertaken by the districts was compiled.

“It’s not possible to immediately put an end to the practice. We have been making several efforts, such as setting up custom hiring centres which provide implements to farmers to manage the stubble”, Suresh Gahlawat added.

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