Punjab turns to satellite imaging to spot field fires

Out of the 788 field fires, owners responsible for 226 have been identified by the authorities and the challans of ‘environment compensation or fine’ of Rs 8,07,500 (8.07 lakhs) has been imposed on these 226 errant farmers.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Published: May 5, 2017 1:16:13 pm
People watch as safety workers try to extinguish fires in a burning oil field in Qayara, south of Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.  (AP Photo)

AFTER REPEATED reprimands from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over burning of crop stubble in the fields, impacting the environment, Punjab has been using satellite images this year to detect illegal field fires in a bid to take immediate action against errant farmers. In the past month, Punjab has recorded 788 field fires through satellite imaging across the state.

For the first time, SMSs are being sent to deputy commissioners and monitoring committees across the state immediately after detecting the fire through satellite images so that quick action could be taken by district authorities, which are responsible for taking action against violators.

DCs are sending the teams immediately after getting SMSes and issuing the challans. Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) would be collecting a report from all districts to present before the NGT.

Out of the 788 field fires, owners responsible for 226 have been identified by the authorities and the challans of ‘environment compensation or fine’ of Rs 8,07,500 (8.07 lakhs) has been imposed on these 226 errant farmers. Rs 4,07,000 (4.07 lakhs) fine has already been collected on the spot while remaining will pay be collected through the District administration channel.

Mansa, Barnala and Ferozepur districts are at the top with 123, 103 and 78 fires respectively while Pathankot is at the bottom with just one fire, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib are at number two and tree with 3 and 7 fires respectively from the bottom.

“To detect burning fields Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), Ludhiana, is using remote sensing, geographical information system (GIS) and global positioning (GPS) to collect geo spatial data and issuing the alerts to deputy commissioners, ADCs, Police DSPs, and other Revenue department officials of the district monitoring committees through SMSes,” said chief engineer PPCB Karunesh Garg, adding that they are identifying the fire spots on the same day through the system.

“Fine will be imposed on very violator,” said a senior officer in the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

According to PPCB, mostly the fine between Rs 2,500 and Rs 10,000 has been imposed on the violators and there are some farmers who are facing fine up to Rs 15,000.

Before Wheat harvesting season NGT had directed state o impose a fine of Rs 2,500 for setting 2 acre land on fire, Rs 5,000 for five acres land, Rs 10,000 for 10 acres and Rs 15,000 to 20,000 for big farmers.

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