THE HARYANA government has asked Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC) in its Department of Science and Technology to monitor stubble burning in 10 districts where the practice is widespread.
HASRAC will inform Haryana State Pollution Control Board who will then initiate action against the farmer concerned.
The districts to be monitored include Ambala, Fatehabad, Jind, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Sirsa Sonipat and Yamunanagar.
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With the paddy harvest on and stubble burning looming, the Central Pollution Control Board at New Delhi called a meeting on September 30 attended by representatives of Punjab and Haryana apart from other paddy growing states, to discuss how to prevent it.
Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, S Narayanan said, “A meeting was called by Central Pollution Control Board at Delhi last week where representatives of several states were present. We have given orders to the regional officers incharge of all districts to monitor cases of stubble burning and report these. Awareness activities will also be conducted.”
Officials of the Board rue that there is a lack of staff in the districts that makes it difficult to monitor such cases. At some places one regional officer has the charge of more than one districts. Another hindrance is the long-drawn process of prosecuting farmers.
The board does not have powers for imposing any penalty on farmers. It can only recommend cases for prosecution. During the last paddy season, a total of 46 cases were recommended for prosecution, while during the wheat season, 48 cases were recommended.
Farmers adopt this practice to clear the fields quickly and make these ready for sowing the next crop. The Department of Agriculture is also involved in checking the practice.
Haryana Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar said alternatives are being explored so that farmers are encouraged not to burn stubble. He said that the government is contemplating a proposal under which stubble can be converted into power. There are provisions for penalty and sentencing, he said.
A report by HARSAC states that there is a decline of around 21 per cent in this practice in the past three years. The report states that in the year 2015, stubble burning took place in 163 thousand hectares in 2015, which was 14.4 per cent of the total rice cropped area. A year earlier in 2014, stubble burning was witnessed in 168.9 thousand hectares or 15.7 per cent of the rice cropped area. The figure was 208.3 thousand hectares or 20.3 percent of the rice cropped area in 2013. The report suggests that total rice burning area in the 10 districts reduced by 3.5 percent as compared to 2014 and 21.8 percent as compared to 2013.
As per the study, while there was a decline in stubble burning in eight districts, in two districts namely Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar there was an increase.