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Burning Issue: Stubble Fires in Punjab Choking UP and Delhi-NCR

The pollution issue in Delhi-NCR rises every year around October-November. The primary cause of this is farmers in Punjab and Haryana burning their stubble. This year, around 54% high-pitched reduction in stubble burning has been noticed in the country. But in Punjab, recently the number of incidents of stubble burning are rising day by day as the harvesting of paddy is peaking up. The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has reported that more pollution rise is recorded in the state after Dussehra.


  • As per reports, 589 incidents of stubble burning were reported in Punjab on October 26, the highest number of stubble burning occurrences recorded in a single day.
  • According to sources, this year a total of 6284 instances of stubble burning were recorded in Punjab till October 30.
  • Although there have been lesser instances of stubble burning in the fields this year compared to previous, numerous incidences are still being reported.
  • According to a NASA report, the smoke from Punjab's stubble burning is heading south and towards the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is estimated that September's rains caused the paddy harvest to be delayed, which is why the number of stubble burning cases are less in the month.
  • As a result, the number of stubble burning cases had increased in October, as the paddy harvesting has been started, and the number of cases are likely to increase as the paddy harvesting is expected to rise in the upcoming weeks.
  • In comparison to Punjab, there are less instances of stubble burning in Haryana.
  • The NASA imagery shows that Punjab has had more than twice as many recorded incidences of stubble burning as Haryana. 

Government’s Action:

  • The National Green Tribunal has banned the act of burning stubble, as is causes extreme air pollution in the surrounding regions. In its 2018 decision, the NGT mandated that farmers will be fined with rupees 2500/- and 5000/- for burning parali on 2-5 acres and more than 5 acres respectively.
  • The tribunal with the help of court, has also proposed incentives to the farmers who does not burn the parali with CRM (Crop Residue Management) machinery.
  • With a determination to reduce stubble burning, the Central government has allotted huge funds under the crop residue management scheme.
  • This supports the procurement of machinery to manage paddy straw, like processing machines, paddy straw chopper etc.
  • Additional procurement is also in process, to make machinery available during the harvest period. 

Farmers can also benefit by using these alternatives to get rid of stubbles:

  • Use “PUSA decomposer” which was introduced by The Indian Agricultural Research Institute, that accelerates the decomposition of crop residues, turning them into valuable fertilizers.
  • In-situ management of stubbles includes, mixing the stubbles back into the soil. This can add nutrients to the soil.
  • while Ex-situ management includes using of these stubbles as a cattle fodder.
  • Other management options for stubbles include, grazing with livestock, slashing, mulching or harrowing etc.
  • Farmers can also use the stubbles and straw in the production of ethanol.
  • Farmers are requested to approach district admin and seek help for the machinery like “HAPPY SEEDER”, “SUPER SEEDER”, “PADDY STRAW CHOPPER”, “MULCHER” etc., on subsidised rates to prevent stubble burning. 

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