With farm fires making a beginning after paddy harvesting in Ludhiana district, Malwa region is all set to witness a marked increase in the number of cases in the coming days.
This year, the state — till date — has witnessed a total of 714 farm fires, mainly in the Majha belt. Experts pointed out that Malwa belt is the biggest area in the state and there would be no way out of a smoke-covered sky in the coming weeks. Clouds may bring rain for a couple of days but after that, clear sky is expected and farm fires are bound to happen.
Farmers’ discussions with the government on compensation for stubble burning have not yielded the desired result. The farmers want at least Rs 2,500 per acre relief.
Data from the Punjab Remote Sensing Authority showed that farmers were now resorting to farm fires in the fertile Malwa belt. The cases are likely to see a rise in the next two weeks when the Majha and Malwa belts will harvest their paddy crop.
“Ludhiana farmers have started burning stubble and in next five days, we will see residue in a more areas being burnt,” said an agriculture officer. Though the government has come up with an ex-situ stubble management policy, the delivery of stubble management machines to farmers is quite slow.
Exhorting farmers not to burn paddy residue while it is wet, Samvidhan Bachao Manch, an NGO that works towards environment conservation, said, “Instead of burning the residue immediately after harvest, farmers must dry it for at least 10 days.”
Manoj Tiwari, a BJP leader, shared a video on his Twitter handle of crop residue burning at Kathunangal village on the outskirts of Amritsar.