Punjab reports over 1,500 farm fires; Haryana AQI in 'severe', 'very poor' categories

Punjab reports over 1,500 farm fires; Haryana AQI in 'severe', 'very poor' categories

Chandigarh, Nov 7 (PTI) Punjab Tuesday reported more than 1,500 stubble burning incidents while many parts in Haryana saw air quality indices in the 'severe' and 'very poor' categories.

The total number of farm fires increased to 20,978 with 1,515 such cases being reported on Tuesday, according to Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data.

Out of 1,515 stubble burning incidents reported on Tuesday, Sangrur continued to top with 397 such cases, followed by 147 in Barnala, 137 in Mansa, 129 in Bathinda, 97 in Ferozepur, 93 in Moga and 86 in Ludhiana.

On the same day in 2021 and 2022, the state had seen 5,199 and 2,487 active fires, respectively.

Out of total 20,978 farm fires recorded from September 15 till November 7, Sangrur is leading with maximum stubble burning cases of 3,604, followed by 2,073 in Ferozepur, 1,847 in Tarn Taran, 1,588 in Mansa, 1,444 in Amritsar, 1,418 in Patiala and 1,215 in Bathinda.

Meanwhile, Haryana's Fatehabad recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 421, followed by Hisar at 403, Jind at 384, Sonipat at 381, Kaithal 377, Faridabad 374, Gurugram 364, Bhiwani 361, Sirsa 334, Panipat 328 and Rohtak 326, In Punjab, Bathinda reported AQI at 343, followed by Mandi Gobindgarh at 299, Jalandhar 252, Patiala 250, Ludhiana 239, Amritsar 205 and Khanna 203.

The Union Territory of Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, saw an AQI of 159.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

To prevent further deterioration of air quality, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), a statutory body responsible for formulating strategies to combat pollution in the region, had on Sunday decided to invoke Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan, in the entire National Capital Region with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, officials said that the Deputy Commissioners of the affected Haryana NCR districts have given strict instructions to ensure compliance of all restrictions under GRAP-4.

Haryana State Pollution Control Board Chairman P Raghavendra Rao on Tuesday gave necessary guidelines while holding a meeting of Deputy Commissioners through video conference to review the compliance of restrictions and instructions under GRAP-4.

Sonipat Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar, who also attended the meeting, has directed that if anyone is found disobeying the instructions, strict action should be taken against him.

While assuring full compliance with the instructions received, Manoj Kumar said that all possible steps are being taken to control pollution.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana-based Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor Satbir Singh Gosal Tuesday appealed to farmers to not burn crop residue as people were gasping for breath due to severe air pollution.

'Ever since November started, paddy straw burning cases are on the rise,' he said in a statement.

Gosal said setting straw ablaze was not a sensible solution to vacate fields for the wheat sowing, rather smoke was being carried by winds to other states, deteriorating air quality and creating breathing difficulties for citizens.

Stating that the Punjab farmers have always garnered admiration for being industrious and tenacious, Gosal urged the rural community to not resort to burning of paddy stubble as it was not a healthy sign and is bringing bad name to the farming community of Punjab.

Gosal called upon farmers to be wise and sensible as well as have mercy on humanity.

Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is considered one of the major reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November.

As the window for wheat -- a key Rabi crop -- is very short after paddy harvest, some farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue for sowing of the next crop. PTI CHS SUN VSD CK CK

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

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