As the wheat harvesting season draws to a close in Punjab, the state has witnessed 1,455 incidents of stubble burning in the last three days. Despite the lockdown, Punjab has crossed the tally of farm fires this season compared to the corresponding period last year.
In fact, stubble burning incidents reported on May 9 were much higher than the same day last year. In this season, Punjab has already recorded 6 per cent more field fires than last year.
Total 2,415 farm fire incidents have been recorded in Punjab during this season from April 15 to May 10 against 2,276 fires during same period in 2019. According to Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), Ludhiana, under Punjab Pollution Control (PPCB) on May 8 and 9, Punjab witnessed 664 and 545 fires respectively against 214 and 360 fires on May 8 and 9 in 2019, respectively. On these two days this year, 53 per cent more fires were recorded comparing to last year.
Anil Sood, Head ACM Division, PRSC, Ludhiana while talking to The Indian Express informed that May 9 was the first day when on a single day the field fires have crossed the mark of 600 fires and the coming days would be more crucial.
Out of 2,415 farm fires this season, a maximum of 429 were recorded in Bathinda followed by Firozpur (291), Sangrur (270), and Barnala (212). Pathankot is the only district in the state where just three fires were recorded.
Majha region, which includes Amritsar, Pathankot, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts, recorded just 110 farm fires (4.5% of total fire incidents), Doaba region — Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, and Kapurthala — recorded 360 fires, which is just 15 per cent of the total fires. Malwa, however, recorded 80.5 per cent of the stubble burning incident in this season so far.
Meanwhile, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Punjab is still between Satisfactory to Moderate. Experts said that the cases in Majha will increase in the coming days because wheat harvesting has just taken place in the Majha region.
Punjab has around 50,000 stubble management machines but still, farmers are finding burning an easy solution.