Stubble burning has ended in the state post paddy harvesting and Punjab has set stubble on 15.47 lakh hectares (38.21 lakh acres) on fire at the end of this paddy harvesting season, which is 52 per cent of the total rice area in the state. In terms of area this is the lowest area on which stubble was burnt despite that fact that farm fire incidents were the second highest this year.
The burnt area, meanwhile, is down by 2.49 lakh hectares as compared to last year.
The fire incidents and burnt area recording ended on November 30. There were 71,304 fire incidents this year which were second highest in the past five years after 2020. Experts said that the number of fire incidents may be higher but recording of acreage under fire is important and that has actually gone down.
According to Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, which is monitoring the fire incidents on behalf of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), this year there was around 29.69 hectares under rice crop.
The PPCB records witnessed that in the past five years 19.78 lakh hectares (LH) in 2017, 17.81 LH in 2018, 18.95 LH in 2019 and 17.96 LH area was burnt in 2020. Stubble burning cases in these years were 50,841 (2017), 51,751 (2018), 53,149 (2019) and 76,929 (2020), till November 30.
This year the PRSC data revealed that the maximum area was burnt in Ferozepur where 68 per cent of the total rice area was burnt and 6,288 fire incidents, which are third highest among all the 23 districts of the state, were recorded.
Sangrur district recorded maximum fire incidents 8,006 but the burnt area was shown only 49 per cent till November 30.
In the district only 82 per cent rice harvested area (2.14 LH harvested area was shown out of total 2.63 LH area under rice in the district) was shown while paddy harvesting had ended in the state around two weeks back.
Ferozepur was followed by Faridkot and Patiala where around 63 per cent and 62 per cent rice area was burnt, respectively. Kapurthala and Barnala districts also burnt around 61 per cent each of their area under rice.
Out of their total area under rice, Amritsar burnt 58 per cent, Tarn Taran (57 per cent), Moga (54 per cent), Ludhiana (53 per cent), Jalandhar (52 per cent), Malerkotla (52 per cent) and Fatehgarh Sahib (50 per cent).
Moga recorded the second highest fire incidents which were 6,515.
Reaining 12 districts of the state have recorded less than 50 per cent farm fires area of total area under rice.
Punjab’s Pathankot district has burnt the lowest area where only 16 per cent rice area was burnt and Mohali has burnt 24 per cent area.
Meanwhile, since 2018 till date Punjab government has distributed over one lakh stubble management machines on around Rs 1,000 crores subsidy to individual farmers, farmers’ groups, Cooperative societies, Custom hiring centres etc.
Going by the number of stubble management machines, the area under fire could have come down manifold but farmers are demanding a compensation Rs 100 to 200 per quintal paddy to manage the stubble.
This year, the PPCB had imposed Rs 2.85 crores as environmental compensation only in 10, 244 fire incident cases out of which 1.90 lakh was recovered.
In 8,562 cases the red entry was made in Khasra Girdawari (crop cultivation register) thereby indicating that the said cultivators have set fields on post paddy harvesting.