Chandigarh: The Supreme Court directions to Punjab - and some other states - on Tuesday to check farm fires notwithstanding, an increase in the incidence of paddy straw burning is still feared as about 30% of the paddy is yet to be harvested in the state.
Farmers opt to burn the paddy straw to clear off their fields as they find a very short period between paddy harvesting and sowing of the next crop - wheat. Another reason for the farmers to opt this practice is that unlike the straw management course, burning paddy straw does not cost them anything, hence the quick and cheapest way to get rid of it.
Delhi-NCR choking due to stubble burning
However, since stubble burning is one of the main reasons behind severe pollution in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR), besides several parts of the northern region, the Punjab and Haryana have – as earlier - got engaged in a blame-game over the paddy straw burning incidence.
In Haryana, according to reports, paddy harvest is almost over with only about 10% remaining.
Paddy is sown in almost all the 23 districts in Punjab and 22 districts in Haryana.
In Punjab, the total paddy and 'basmati' area this year is over 70 lakh acre. The farm fires totalled at about 20,000 this season – till November 6 – which was said to be 36% less as compared to the last year. However, the stubble burning is said to have also ``severely hit’’ the air quality in several cities including Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Patiala in Punjab.
Likewise, Haryana has about 33 lakh acre area under paddy and "basmati" cultivation, where harvest is yet to begin in about 10% area. The state has already witnessed about 1,600 incidence of stubble burning and the air quality has been ``severally hit’’ in Faridabad, Gurugram, Palwal, Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Jind, Bhiwani and Hisar districts, though, there was said to be 40% dip in the incidents of stubble burning in the state.
Farm leaders fume
Meanwhile, several farm leaders in Punjab rued that the farmers were unnecessarily being defamed for the air pollution in Delhi whereas the industrial, vehicular and construction pollution were the main contributors for the pollution in Delhi and the NCR, and not the stubble burning.