News Brief

Punjab Reports Over 2,000 Farm Fires In A Day, Highest Stubble Burning Cases From CM Bhagwant Mann's Birthplace Sangrur

Nishtha Anushree

Nov 09, 2023, 02:24 PM | Updated 03:08 PM IST

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann (left) and Arvind Kejriwal (right)
Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann (left) and Arvind Kejriwal (right)

Over 2,000 farm fires were reported in Punjab on Wednesday (8 November), despite the Supreme Court's directions to immediately halt crop residue burning.

According to NDTV, Sangrur district, which is the birthplace of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and he is also an MLA from the district, reported the highest number of stubble-burning incidents at 466 in the state on Wednesday.

According to data from the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre based in Ludhiana, the total number of farm fires in Punjab has risen to 22,981, with 2,003 new cases reported on Wednesday.

Bathinda followed Sangrur with 221 cases, while Barnala had 216, Faridkot had 150, Mansa had 131, Patiala had 106, Ferozepur had 103, and Ludhiana had 96, according to the data.

This comes at a time when Delhi is dealing with severe air pollution and the state's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government is trying to defend Punjab's AAP government over stubble burning while attacking PM Narendra Modi.

Punjab's Director General of Police (DGP), Gaurav Yadav, urged police officers on Wednesday to collaborate closely with the civil administration in order to effectively curb stubble burning in the state.

The DGP has designated Special DGP (Law and Order) Arpit Shukla as the police nodal officer responsible for overseeing measures against stubble burning, as stated in an official order.

The order stated that the police nodal officer is responsible for issuing appropriate instructions, organising meetings and tours, gathering and organizing relevant information, and reporting to the DGP Punjab and the Chief Secretary. This is to ensure effective monitoring of the police's actions in complying with the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

From September 15 to November 8, a total of 22,981 farm fires were recorded. Among these cases of stubble burning, Sangrur had the highest number with 4,070 incidents, followed by Ferozepur with 2,176, Tarn Taran with 1,888, Mansa with 1,719, Patiala with 1,524, Amritsar with 1,454, Bathinda with 1,436, Barnala with 1,129, Ludhiana with 1,089, and Faridkot with 1,014.

Haryana's air quality was severely affected with high levels of pollution. Fatehabad had the highest air quality index (AQI) at 451, followed by Faridabad at 425, Jind at 406, Bhiwani at 400, Gurugram at 385, Kaithal at 380, Rohtak at 362, Hisar at 332, Panipat at 323, and Sisra at 319.

In Punjab, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was reported at 348 in Bathinda, 338 in Mandi Gobindgarh, 292 in Ludhiana, 267 in Patiala, 266 in Jalandhar, 253 in Khanna, and 240 in Amritsar.

Chandigarh, the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana, recorded an AQI of 201.

The alarming increase in air pollution levels in the national capital during October and November is attributed to the practice of burning paddy straw in Punjab and Haryana.

Due to the limited time available for sowing the next crop after the paddy harvest, certain farmers resort to burning their fields in order to swiftly remove the residue and prepare for the planting of wheat, an important rabi crop.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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