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Stubble burning: Punjab sees 1,068 farm fires, highest in a single day this season

Chandigarh: Punjab reported 1,068 farm fires on Sunday, the highest in a single day in the current harvesting season as paddy growers continue to burn crop residue.

Out of 1,068 stubble burning incidents witnessed on Sunday, among the districts Sangrur reported a maximum 181, followed by 155 in Ferozepur, 133 in Tarn Taran, 83 in Patiala and 66 in Mansa, according to the data of the Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre.

On the same day in 2021 and 2022, the state had seen 1,353 and 1,898 farm fires, respectively.

From September 15 till October 29, the state witnessed a total of 5,254 farm fire incidents as against 12,112 such cases in corresponding period last year, showing 57 per cent decline in number of farm fire incidents.

The state had reported 8,856 farm fires during the same period in 2021.

Out of the total 5,254 farm fires reported so far, Amritsar constituted the bulk of crop residue burning cases at 1,060, followed by 646 in Tarn Taran, 590 in Patiala, 540 in Sangrur and 505 in Ferozepur, as per the data.

Paddy harvesting is underway in Punjab.

With about 31 lakh hectares of paddy area, Punjab produces around 180-200 lakh tonne of paddy straw every year and of which 120 lakh tonne was being managed through in-situ (mixing crop residue in fields) and around 30 lakh tonne ex-situ (using stubble as fuel) management methods.

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.

As the window for Rabi crop — wheat — is very short after paddy harvest, some farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue for sowing of the next crop.

The state recorded 49,922 fire events in 2022, 71,304 in 2021, 76,590 in 2020, 55,210 in 2019 and 50,590 in 2018 with many districts including Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda and Amritsar witnessing large number of stubble burning incidents.

(Published 29 October 2023, 17:14 IST)

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