With several farmers outfits threatening to resort to paddy stubble burning unless suitably compensated by the state government, Punjab issued orders banning the practice, even as the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday appealed to farmers against doing it.
A government release said the deputy commissioners have issued orders under CrPC. banning the burning of straw and other residue in their districts. The village panchayats have also been directed to pass resolutions that crop residue will not be burnt and in case of violation the person would not be eligible for auction of panchayat land next year.
What is more, the Department has decided to make the panchayat responsible for providing written information of any incident of straw burning to the local police/SDM.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has engaged Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, to give real time information about fire incidents. The PRSC has also developed a monitoring mechanism along with SMS alert system, whereby SMS/email is sent daily to the Deputy Commissioner and other local functionaries of the district regarding fire incidents in their area.
It said District Level Monitoring Committees have been set up by DCs, members of which are deputed to visit the place of fire incident and impose environmental compensation on the defaulting farmers or take other suitable action.
During the wheat harvesting season, Environment Compensation amounting to Rs 61.47 lakh was imposed on farmers involved in 10,905 stubble burning incidents, said the statement. Besides this, a multi-pronged plan to deal with the issue has been drawn up by the Department of Science, Technology and Environment following directions from the Chief Minister.
With 75 per cent of the 19.7 million tonnes of paddy straw generated in Punjab every year, the problem has assumed dangerous proportions, leading to loss of organic material for soil, degradation of air quality and high SPM level. Of the total paddy straw, only 21.8 per cent is consumed in biomass based projects, paper/cardboard mills and animal fodder, while a small portion is managed through other systems such as machinery and equipment.