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On average, Haryana sees 100 stubble fires per day; farmers blame govt
On average, Haryana sees 100 stubble fires per day; farmers blame govt

Chandigarh, Oct 23 (TIWN): Farmers in Haryana have begun to set their paddy fields on fire as harvesting has picked up. On an average, 100 fire cases are reported per day across the state and this number will multiply in the days to come, with Kaithal, Karnal and Kurukshetra being hotspot districts.

The farmers blame the government. They say the machines provided by it are costly and not easily available for in situ management of stubble, a major cause of air pollution in Delhi and surrounding cities.

The impact of farm fires has been visible on Delhi’s air quality. The AQI of the Delhi-NCR region is getting worse and will deteriorate post-Diwali.

To discourage the farmers from burning the residue, the government has been giving incentives and taking punitive steps. It offers an incentive of Rs 1,000 per acre for baling the stubble along with transportation charges of bales at Rs 500 per acre.

In Haryana, where incidents of stubble burning are significantly lower than that in Punjab, paddy is grown in about 4,800 villages. These villages largely fall in Karnal, Kurukshetra, Fatehabad, Kaithal, Jind and Sirsa districts.

Under in situ management, 23 lakh metric tons (MT) crop residue is being utilised through various machines and decomposers, and 13 MT under ex-situ management.

The Manohar Lal Khattar-led government is planning to buy paddy straw at the minimum support price (MSP).

Farmers are being continuously made aware of the ill-effects of stubble burning, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Department told IANS.

Paddy is currently sown over 34 lakh acres in Haryana. Out of this, 57 per cent of the area is under basmati which matures two weeks later than the non-basmati type.

Incidents of farm fires suddenly spiked in the past one week and will continue to rise as the state has reported 664 incidents of stubble burning till October 20. However, the incidents were far less than the 1,237 that were reported till this day last year.

Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) data says the state reported 6,987 incidents of farm fires in the Kharif harvesting season of 2021 against 9,898 in 2020, registering a dip of 30 per cent in one year.

Farmers in the state, however, are showing the way in stubble management.

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