Amritsar farmers continue to burn stubble as alternative methods are expensive


Amritsar (Punjab) : Farmers in Amritsar’s Devi Dasspura village continued to burn their field stubble, causing plumes of smoke to emanate.

Stubble burning in Amritsar has taken place unusually early this year, due to an early Kharif harvest. Such incidents are likely to increase in the coming weeks from the southern part of the state as farmers prepare for Rabi season. Lack of resources compels many to take the drastic step as alternative equipment is expensive without support from the government.

“Farmers here don’t want to burn stubble, but we are compelled to do it because the government is not providing us with a different solution. We asked the district administration to take the stubble and dispose of it properly, but they did not take any action. After continuously asking for 10 days, we burnt it,” said Jeet Singh, a farmer.

“The government should set up a plant to produce something useful from the stubble. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the air was very clean and fresh but we have been forced to do this as we don’t have any other choice. Our children also breathe this air. We appeal to the government to do something,” he added.

As many as 297 stubble burning incidents were reported between September 21 and 25 this year, Dr Brijender Pateriya, Director of the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre informed on Saturday. This is 100 more than the 197 incidents that were reported last year in the same time frame. 

During the last few years, the worsening quality of air in the national capital caused by stubble burning has been a cause for contention.

In November last year, the Supreme Court had slammed the Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh government for failing to curb the practice and came down heavily on the Central government for not taking concrete steps to improve the deteriorating air quality in the national capital.

Despite the distribution of over 28,000 agro-machines by the Punjab government in August last year, and the ban of the practice by the state government in October thereafter, farmers continued to burn stubble due to lack of alternative methods.

After the early burning of crop residue was brought to notice on Tuesday, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) wrote to the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to take stock of the situation and take action.

“We have written to chief secretaries of all the three states to take stock of the situation and start acting. We have asked them to implement the Supreme Court’s order which is a state’s responsibility,” Bhure Lal, chairman of the EPCA said. (ANI)