WITH OVER 43,000 stubble burning cases in Punjab till November 8, an environmental compensation (EC) of Rs 2.2 crores has been imposed on farmers in 8,410 cases for causing air pollution, apart from 1,846 FIRs being registered across the state. Number of stubble burning incidents are likely to fall now as most stubble has been burnt and even sowing of wheat has started in some parts.
Among the FIRs filed, 1760 FIRs are for disobeying the order of a public servant under Section 188 of IPC, according to information from the state’s Department of Science, Technology and Environment. Farmers, however, are adamant on not paying any fines and are also protesting for cancellation of FIRs. Apart from the FIRs, in 8629 cases, a red entry has been marked in Khasra Girdwari in the farmer’s name so as to avoid providing him any revenue schemes benefits if any in future.
In 61 cases, environmental compensation has been imposed on harvest combine owners for not installing straw management system (SMS) on the combines while harvesting. While Sangrur happens to be at the top of farm fire incidents with 5600 such cases, but here only 46 farmers have been booked and EC only up to Rs 26.75 lakh has been imposed on farmers.
Maximum fine has been imposed by Patiala which is nearly Rs 76.85 lakhs. Pathankot is the only district which has only two stubble burning incidents and no EC or FIR has been lodged in this district till now. While the area under paddy in the state had been reduced by 3.15 lakh hectares this year compared to last year, farm fires are up by 12.19 per cent this year.
According to information from Punjab government’s Agriculture Department, this year the area under paddy is 23.01 lakh hectare compared to 26.16 lakh hectare of 2018. The total fire incidents touched 43,181 on November 8 compared to 37,914 farm fire incidents in 2018, according to the data from Department of Remote Sensing, Punjab Agriculture University.