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‘Farm fires in Punjab seven times more than in Haryana’

State government officials said that the “active fire locations” are mainly indicative of stubble burning adding that Punjab is still facing severe problem of stubble burning, while Haryana only has isolated cases.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh | Updated: November 5, 2019 7:39:06 am
Haryana has witnessed a decline in such incidents by more than 20 per cent this year in comparison to 2018.

The satellite images by Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC) have spotted as many 32,119 “active fire locations” in Punjab in comparison to 4,673 in Haryana between September 25 to November 4 (Monday). Harvesting of paddy crop started in both states this season around September 25.

State government officials said that the “active fire locations” are mainly indicative of stubble burning adding that Punjab is still facing severe problem of stubble burning, while Haryana only has isolated cases.

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Also, Haryana has witnessed a decline in such incidents by more than 20 per cent this year in comparison to 2018.

Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, Monday tweeted satellite images from HARSAC showing much higher intensity of fire locations in Punjab coloured with red spots than of neigbhouring Haryana. HARSAC is the nodal agency for remote sensing under the state government’s Department of Science & Technology.

“The Government of Haryana and farmers have together done their job,” the state BJP tweeted. Khattar shared this tweet Monday. “The states should refrain from playing the blame game on the issue of air pollution as the problem is not confined to a particular state,” Khattar said while talking to reporters.

He added that apart from the burning of crop residue, several other factors like construction activities, vehicular traffic and burning of waste also significantly contribute in increasing the air pollution. Khattar also urged his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to keep a check on such activities in Delhi.

“In the last 24 hours, only 70 cases of burning of agriculture residue has been reported in Haryana which is much lower than the cases reported in the neighboring state of Punjab,” he said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Managing Director Kahan Singh Pannu said that the area under paddy in Punjab is more than three times than of Haryana. Speaking to The Indian Express, Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman Satwinder Singh Marwaha admitted that the situation had worsened in the state on Monday. “Only today some 4,800 active fire locations have been spotted in Punjab. We are making all efforts to keep it lessor this year in comparison to 2018. Till now, number of such spots is higher by 4000-5,000 this year in comparison to 2018,” said Marwaha.

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The government has also decided to set up 700 new Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) at panchayat levels in most affected districts which are Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Fatehabad and Sirsa. The farmers can hire machines from the centres to process the crop residue.

Haryana government has also proposed not to give benefits of government schemes to the farmers found guilty of stubble burning. Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Sanjeev Kauhal said that they have sent a proposal to the central government in this regard.

(WITH PTI INPUTS)

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