Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana has gone uncontrollable this year mainly because of the reluctance of the local administration to act against offenders due to the ongoing farmer’s protests against the new farm laws in the two states.
As a consequence of this, Delhi and its neighboring states are wrestling with the Deteriorating air quality that can accelerate the Covid 19 cases in the region, officials said.
Air pollution in Delhi is due to local factors: Punjab CM
On Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh claimed that the bad air quality of India’s Capital is due to the local factors, but data from the Punjab University’s Remote Sensing Centre say something else. According to the data, it suggests a three-fold spike in the stubble burning incidents in Punjab as compared to the previous year. This year, 3996 incidents of stubble burning reported in-between period September 21 to October 15 in Punjab whereas only 1,266 incidents were reported last year in the same period.
However, Haryana has done slightly better than Punjab in this matter. As per the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), till October 15, 1835, active fire location was reported while last year’s number was 1,072 in the same period.
Officials didn’t take necessary action against the offenders due to the fear of the situation
Officials in the two states said that the cases of stubble burning started in the respective states at the time when farmers started protesting against the new farm laws which were passed in the monsoon session of Parliament. Any action against the offenders could have aggravated the situation on the ground.
Why farmers burn stubble?
Farmers burn paddy and residuals of crops to clear the farm fields so they can sow winter wheat crop, 90 percent of which is procured by the government to sustain the Public Distribution System (PDS). The fumes caused by the fire caused a large amount of air pollution across the entire northern plains.
According to the map released by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, almost all of the South Punjab which includes districts Bathinda, Mansa and Fazilka, and Haryana’s Rohtak, Sonepat and Panipat districts, showed an increase in the farm fire activities.
As per the air pollution experts, the northeasterly winds bring the pollutants of the farm fires from the two states and smoke which mixes with the local emission causing an increase in the pollution level in the National Capital Region.