Cracking the whip on farmers who continue to defy orders on burning paddy stubble, authorities in Haryana have initiated action against 1406 violators, and recovered a fine of Rs 13.75 lakh so far, a senior official said today. Many farmers in Haryana and the neighbouring Punjab have continued with the practice, leading to health risks, and adversely affecting the soil’s health.
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“We are taking action as stubble burning is a serious issue. Till yesterday, we have initiated action in 1406 cases against those found burning the stubble,” Principal Secretary, Environment Department-cum-Chairman, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), Shrikant Walgad told PTI today.
He said fines were imposed on violators and an amount of Rs 13.75 lakh has been recovered so far. Cases under the Environment Pollution Act were tried by environment courts at Kurukshetra and Faridabad, he said. Both the Haryana and Punjab governments have imposed a ban on burning of paddy residue and the erring farmers can also be prosecuted by the authorities.
However, during the past three weeks, reports from various areas in Haryana and Punjab, suggest that farmers have continued to burn paddy straw despite being asked to shun the practice by the state pollution control boards and the agriculture departments.
Farmers are also being provided subsidy on farm implements like happy seeder, rotavators, straw reapers for managing straw in a sustainable manner. In the last few years it has been noted that when stubble is burned in the two leading agrarian states, the pollutants enter Delhi, adversely affecting the air quality in the national capital.
With smog enveloping Delhi and its surrounding areas in Haryana during the past few days, many private schools in Gurugram have declared holidays for few days in the wake of health hazard it poses to the children. Yesterday, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had informed the Assembly here that Government was serious to tackle the problems arising out of stubble burning.
“We are serious on the issue to check stubble burning which causes pollution and other problems,” he said.
Asked in which areas of Haryana the problem was more prevalent, Walgad said, “Generally it is in Kurukshetra, Karnal, Fatehabad and Jind”.
Burning of paddy residue causes air pollution, smog and also poses a serious threat as it leads to medical problems such as breathing issues, allergies and asthma attacks. It causes emission of smoke and toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and nitrous oxide. It also leads to poor soil health by eliminating essential nutrients, agri experts said.
Training workshops and awareness programmes for farmers are conducted from time to time in both states where peasants are informed about the harmful affects of stubble burning, officials said.
The Haryana government had recently directed district level committees, which have been constituted for this purpose, to monitor the incidences of crop residue burning through satellite images and submit a daily report to headquarters, Walgad said.
Besides, the committees have been directed to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and register cases against violators of this Act in special environment courts along with photographic and videographic evidence.