At 6,668, state sees most farm fires in a day - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

At 6,668, state sees most farm fires in a day


At 6,668, state sees most farm fires in a day

Aman Sood
Tribune News Service
Patiala, November 5

Despite the intervention of the Supreme Court on the continuous stubble burning and inefficiency on part of the state government to tackle the problem, Punjab saw season’s highest farm fires at 6,668 in a single day today.

Meanwhile, following the Chief Secretary holding a teleconference with respective Deputy Commissioners, the district administrations have started registering FIRs — a majority of them against unknown persons.

According to official data compiled by The Tribune, Sangrur topped the chart with over 1,007 farm fires in a single day on November 5 followed by 945 in Bathinda and 628 in Moga. Active fire events captured through satellite data of November 5 were 6,668 whereas on the same day in 2018, the fire incidents reported were 1,001, respectively. The total number of fire incidents for the period between September 23 and November 5 in 2018 and 2019 were 27,224 and 37,935, respectively.

Due to an improved wind speed, the effect of the stubble burning was less though Punjab continued to breathe poor-quality air. On November 5, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Punjab averaged 213, with Amritsar at 233, Ludhiana 206, Mandi Gobindgarh 245, Patiala 183, Jalandhar 229 and Khanna 182.

Punjab’s air quality reached the worst this season when people in Patiala complained of breathlessness and smog-like conditions for two days at a stretch. However, following the Supreme Court intervention, the state police have now started registering FIRs, but farmers continue to burn their farm stubble.

Sources within the government said the registration of FIRs was merely an eyewash and they serve no purpose till they are registered by name. “In majority of the FIRs registered across the state, the name of the accused is not there and just the village name is mentioned. This will serve no purpose but just a data that will be presented before the Centre and Supreme Court,” they said. In Patiala, 44 such FIRs have been registered in the past two days against unknown farmers.

With the failure of the Punjab Government to act tough against violators indulging in farm fires throughout the season, the government is now contemplating “disconnecting power supply to erring farmers” and stop subsidies. “Though the decision to this effect is pending but it is very unlikely that it would get a government nod, given the strong opposition by farmer unions,” said a top official.

Highly placed sources confirmed that a proposal mooted by the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, is pending with the Punjab Government for approval wherein farmers who set their fields on fire will lose their power connections. “The respective Deputy Commissioners will be assigned to identify the farmer and ensure that officials concerned disconnect the power connection to such agriculture fields,” reads the initial proposal.

Officials said power supply to such farmers could be disconnected from 30 to 90 days, which means that he would be without power for the paddy season and the next wheat season.


Proposal to snap power 

With the failure of the Punjab Government to act tough against violators indulging in farm fires throughout the season, the government is now contemplating “disconnecting power supply to erring farmers” and stop subsidies. “Though the decision to this effect is pending but it is very unlikely that it would get a government nod, given the strong opposition by farmer unions,” said a top official. 

Held for fire, farmer released after protest 

Muktsar: A number of farmers on Tuesday gheraoed Sadar (Muktsar) police station against the police action on farmers over stubble burning. The farmers demanded that the cases should be cancelled and a farmer be released from custody. The protest lasted for more than an hour, which caused traffic jam. The police later released the farmer and protesters dispersed. Nearly 47 cases have been registered for stubble burning in the district till date. TNS

AIr index on Tuesday

  • Amritsar 233 
  • Ludhiana 206
  • Mandi G’garh 245
  • Patiala 183
  • Jalandhar 229
  • Khanna 182

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