Action initiated in 20,729 cases of stubble burning: Punjab CM

ANI Chandigarh, Punjab Nov 03, 2019, 09.52 PM(IST)

File Photo: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Photograph:( ANI )

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The state government has intensified its drive against the dangerous practice of stubble burning, the Chief Minister said.

Action has been initiated against as many as 2,923 farmers so far in the 20,729 cases of stubble burning reported till November 1, in the state, said Punjab Chief Minister's Office in a statement.

The action is expected to cause a reduction of 10-20 per cent in the number of such cases this year as against 2018, the statement said. "As against a total of around 49,000 cases of stubble burning last year, this year the state government has so far received reports of 20,729 cases, with more than 70 per cent of the paddy already harvested," the statement read.

Despite the High Court having stayed the recovery of fine from farmers penalised last year, the state government has intensified its drive against the dangerous practice of stubble burning, the Chief Minister said.

According to the statement, "Even as he expressed the hope that the Prime Minister will understand, and respond positively to his letter on the grave issue of the worsening Delhi air pollution, Captain Amarinder said his government was fully seized of the problem and was working committedly to put a stop to stubble burning."

"The Enforcement Teams had, till November 1, 2019, visited 11286 fire incidents sites, and Environment Compensation amounting to Rs 41.62 lakh had been imposed in 1585 cases, Red Entry made in Khasra Girdawaris in 1136 cases, and prosecution/ FIR filed in 202 cases against the defaulting farmers," the statement said.

While admitting that Punjab was also contributing to the Delhi smog, due to the westerly upper winds, including those coming from Pakistan, Captain Amarinder said to put the blame entirely on his state was "absolutely incorrect."

Statistics showed that the parameters on the factors relating to pollution were higher in Delhi, he added. Instead of addressing the problem, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was playing political games, he said, asking what the AAP leader was doing on the ground to resolve the issue.

The situation has aggravated in recent years as the production of paddy has increased, with the last two years reporting record production in Punjab, even though the state's people were traditionally not rice-eaters, according to the Chief Minister.

He also pointed out that the cities in the state were also enveloped by smog.

Underlining the need to change the cropping pattern by weaning the farmers away from paddy, he reiterated his demand for MSP for other crops to help promote diversification.

The Central government has to step in and find a consensus to resolve the crisis, Captain Amarinder stressed.