THE drive against stubble burning seems to have fallen flat as over 13,000 cases of wheat stubble burning have already been reported in May. Till April 30, only 400 such cases had been reported across state. The data of Punjab Pradesh Pollution Control Board (PPCB) reveals that till May 13, 13,593 cases of field-fires have been reported.
While PPCB had imposed a fine worth Rs 38.29 lakh, they have only been able to recover Rs 13.8 lakh, like in 2016 when over 17,000 challans had been issued due to wheat stubble burning by imposing a fine worth Rs 73.22 lakh but only Rs 14.05 lakh could be recovered.
According to data, out of 13,593 cases, fines have been imposed only in 1,084 cases while in 3,262 cases, the PPCB stated that no action was needed as fire incidents happened accidentally.
Interestingly, this year farmers did stubble burning in phases and not at one go. Perhaps this was the reason for less air pollution.
“Every village had chosen a date for wheat stubble burning post harvest and straw collection and hence, this year they did not burn at one go like previous years,” said Gora Singh from Mansa village.
This year, the state agriculture department had launched an extensive campaign asking farmers to do direct sowing and also to do straw management. However, the idea did not work well as villagers continued to burn crops.