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Wednesday, 2 December 2020

At 70%, Palwal records sharpest fall in farm fires

Bijendra Ahlawat

Tribune News Service

Palwal, December 1

Krishan Kumar, a 40-year-old farmer from the district's Janoli village, has shown that stubble burning can be put to an end if there is an institutional support.

Not very long ago, he, like other farmers, used to burn stubble. When the authorities got strict and started registering cases against farmers burning crop residue, he started hiring laboureres to get the stubble cut. This, however, cost him much.

This time, Kumar sold off paddy stubble to a manufacturer of organic fertilisers — a move that proved not only environment-friendly, but also economically viable.

"I used to spend Rs 5,000 per acre on hiring labour for cutting the crop residue. Thanks to the manufacturer of organic fertilisers, I saved Rs 3,000 per acre," he said, adding he was mulling selling off the residue as fodder next season.

Kumar is among more than 500 farmers, who did not burn paddy stubble this time. Instead, they sold it off to fertiliser manufacturers or as fodder. Their decision has led to 70 per cent decrease in the farm fire incidents in the district this year compared with last year's figures — the sharpest fall among five districts that have recorded fewer number of incidents.

According to the bulletin released by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, New Delhi, 56 incidents of residue burning were recorded by the satellite remote sensing technique in the district between October 1 and November 23, when the paddy harvesting was at its peak. It had recorded 188 incidents last year.

Karnal took the second spot with 47 per cent reduction in the number of incidents. It recorded 572 incidents this year against 1,081 last year.

Kurukshetra with 460 stubble burning incidents as compared with 738 last year took the third position, recording a reduction of 38 per cent.

Kaithal and Yamunanagar occupy the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

However, according to the IARI report, Sonepat, Rohtak, Panipat, Sirsa, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Ambala reported a rise in incidents.

Sonepat and Rohtak recorded an increase of 244 and 210 per cent, respectively, between October 1 and November 23. Sonepat recorded 110 incidents this time compared with only 32 last year. Fatehabad district recorded 1,194 farm fire incidents, the highest in the state. It had recorded 1,191 incidents last year.

Palwal DC Naresh Narwal attributed the change in attitude of farmers to the strict implementation of the crop residue management scheme. "Incentives worth Rs 5.9 crore were given to farmers under the crop residue management scheme," he said.

from The Tribune

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