Chandigarh: Punjab Thursday (November 9) saw a sharp drop in the number of stubble burning incidents as it recorded 639 farm fires while police and civil administration launched a crackdown against erring farmers to prevent crop residue burning. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had issued directions to ensure stopping of crop residue burning “forthwith”, amid a spike in pollution levels in Delhi-NCR. The SC bench had also made the local station house officer (SHO) concerned, under the overall supervision of the chief secretary, responsible for stopping crop residue burning.
Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is considered one of the reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November.
Punjab Thursday reported 639 stubble burning incidents. The state had seen the number of farm fires 3,230, 2,060, 1,515 and 2,003 on November 5, 6, 7 and 8 respectively.
Following the SC directions, the Punjab Police chief on Wednesday had asked police officers to work in tandem with the civil administration to prevent stubble burning in the state.
Police on Thursday registered 251 FIRs against farmers in the state for burning paddy straw, according to a senior police officer.
Police lodged cases under Section 188 of the IPC.
During the crackdown, a fine of Rs 88.23 lakh was imposed on erring farmers.
There was a total number of 392 hotspots of stubble burning across the state.
According to the officer, 1,309 meetings were held by the SHOs with village sarpanches to sensitise them about the Supreme Court directions.
Besides, commissioners of police and district police chiefs held meetings with farmer leaders. At least 269 such meetings were held in the last two days.
As many as 638 flying squads comprising police and civil officials have been formed to keep vigil at stubble burning, said the officer.
With 639 fresh fires, the total number of stubble burning incidents rose to 23,620 in the state.
Out of 639 stubble burning incidents, Sangrur continued to top with 135 cases, followed by 96 in Mansa, 83 in Ferozepur, 52 in Kapurthala and 38 in Fazilka.
On the same day in 2021 and 2022, the state had seen 5,079 and 1,778 farm fires, respectively.
Out of total 23,620 farm fires recorded from September 15 till November 9, Sangrur is leading with maximum stubble burning cases of 4,205, followed by 2,259 in Ferozepur, 1,908 in Tarn Taran, 1,815 in Mansa, 1,553 in Patiala and 1,459 in Amritsar.
Senior officers of police and civil administrations Thursday spread out in fields at many places in the state to check stubble burning.
Wherever they found stubble fire, officials put it out with the help of fire brigades, said officials.
Sangrur Senior Superintendent of Police Surendra Lamba said around 450 police personnel visited fields and asked farmers not to set residue on fire. Adding that action was taken against those indulging in farm fires, he said,
Wherever fire was found, it was put out.
Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Himanshu Aggarwal said he along with the Gurdaspur SSP visited fields to check stubble burning.
Similarly, Fazilka DC Senu Duggal along with SSP M S Dhesi visited fields in their areas and said they took action to check stubble burning.
Meanwhile, many parts in Haryana saw air quality indices in the ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ categories.
Haryana’s Sonipat recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 433, followed by Jind at 432, Kaithal at 430, Hisar and Fatehabad at 411 each, Faridabad 407, Gurugram 399, Rohtak 358, Kurukshetra 340, Bhiwani 332 and Panipat 323.
In Punjab, Bathinda reported AQI at 372, followed by Mandi Gobindgarh at 354, Patiala 300, Khanna 293, Jalandhar 258, Amritsar 225 and Rupnagar 200.
The Union Territory of Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, saw an AQI of 209.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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