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Punjab: Majority Of Farm Fires In Districts Strongholds Of Kisan Unions, Highest Cases In CM Bhagwant Mann's Sangrur

Nishtha Anushree

Nov 22, 2023, 05:03 PM | Updated 05:03 PM IST

Stubble burning in Punjab (Representative image)
Stubble burning in Punjab (Representative image)

Five districts in Punjab—Sangrur, Ferozepur, Moga, Bathinda, and Barnala—have collectively accounted for 47 per cent of reported farm fire incidents from the state this harvest season.

The majority of the cases have been reported from the districts, which have a stronghold of farm unions, Hindustan Times reported.

As of Tuesday (21 November), the total number of cases has surpassed the 35,000 mark, with these five districts contributing 16,649 cases to date.

Sangrur, the home district of Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, reported the highest number of cases at 5,565, followed by Ferozepur with 3,322, Moga with 2,596, Bathinda with 2,900, and Barnala with 2,266.

Although there has been an overall 21 per cent reduction in stubble burning cases compared to the previous year's 49,992, Sangrur has reported more cases than last year's figure of 5,239.

Adarshpal Vig, the chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), noted a considerable reduction in stubble burning cases in most districts, attributing it to positive responses from farmers to in-situ and ex-situ management methods.

Vig stated that the improvement will happen gradually. He mentioned that, based on last year's figures, 10 districts were identified as red areas before the start of paddy harvesting, and measures were taken to control farm fire incidents in these districts.

In Sangrur, the state police have registered 57 FIRs against farmers, filed prosecutions in four cases under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, and imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 14.67 lakh in 579 cases.

Similarly, in other districts like Ferozepur, Moga, Bathinda, and Barnala, FIRs were registered, fines were imposed, and environmental compensation was applied against farmers who engaged in stubble burning.

Despite the stringent actions, officials express skepticism about these cases reaching a logical conclusion, citing reluctance among cultivators and strong reactions from farmer unions in response to FIR registrations.

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

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