Chandigarh: With the paddy harvest going on in full swing in Punjab and Haryana, a steep rise in the number of farm fire cases – which is likely to peak by the next week – has severely hit the air quality in the region.
Till October 27 last, the incidents of farm fires this season in Punjab had totalled over 8,100 - most of the cases being reported from districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur, where the sowing and harvest are early.
The efforts of the state governments to check the farm fires, notwithstanding, the results show little impact, given the number of rising cases and the adverse impact on the air quality.
On Thursday alone, the satellites of the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) spotted over 1,100 incidents of farm fire incidents in the state, whereas on the same day (October 27) in 2020, 2,139 such spots were reported by the satellite. In 2021, there were 279 such spots in the state.
According to media reports, the total number of farm fires this season has touched 8,147, higher than last year’s about 6,700 cases in 2021 till October 27.
While most of the farmers held they were forced to burn the crop residue due to a short span of time between the harvest of paddy and the sowing of wheat, many others held that they did not have adequate funds to purchase machines or take them on rent for stubble management.
AIR QUALITY HIT
Meanwhile, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) said that the sharp rise in the cases of stubble burning in Punjab between September 15 and October 26 was a matter of concern.
However, it said the total number of farm fires in Haryana had reduced by 26% as compared to last year in the same period.
The commission has taken up the matter with the Punjab government espousing for effective implementation of an action plan for stubble management.
In Haryana, according to reports, about 1,700 cases have been reported till Friday and the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), at Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) has detected so far the highest 474 incidents of far fires in Kaithal, 267 in Kurukshetra, 234 in Karnal, 221 in Fatehabad, 134 in Ambala and 94 in Yamunanagar.
The spike in the number of incidents of stubble burning has also affected the air quality of most of the cities in the state.
As per the air quality bulletin of the central pollution control board (CPCB) the air quality of nine cities was put in the category of ``very poor’’ as the air quality index of the Manesar, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Gurugram, Fatehabad, Faridabad, Dharuhera and Charkhi Dadri was recorded above 300 level, while the same was categorised as ``poor’’ for Sonepat, Kurukshetra and Bhiwani for their levels between 200 and 300.