Villages beneath vigil

Parveen Arora

WITH the onset of paddy harvesting amid the Covid-19 disaster, the Haryana authorities has chalked out a plan to verify stubble burning, a serious contributor to air air pollution that chokes the nationwide capital area within the winter. Apart from planning to ascertain extra customized hiring centres (CHCs) to offer high-end tools for crop residue administration to farmers, the Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department has categorised the fields as purple, orange and inexperienced zones, based mostly on the energetic fireplace places detected by the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC) within the final paddy season.

Data exhibits 3,911 energetic fireplace places had been detected within the state from April 15 to May 31 this yr, in comparison with 7,383 circumstances final yr in the identical interval. A complete of 6,630 such places had been recognized over the past paddy season in opposition to 10,286 in 2018.

Villages with six or extra energetic fireplace places have been stored within the purple class, these with 2-5 places within the orange zone and people with fewer places within the inexperienced zone. As many as 332 villages of the state are within the purple zone and 673 within the orange zone.

SMS a should in mix harvesters

In order to make sure higher administration of stubble within the fields whereas harvesting, nearly all district administrations in Haryana have made the set up of the straw administration system (SMS) in mix harvesters obligatory. Combine harvesters working with out SMS might be impounded and the operators fined. “The SDM will issue a certificate after ensuring that the SMS is attached,” says Nishant Kumar Yadav, Deputy Commissioner, Karnal.

To carry down the incidents of stubble burning this season, a strict vigil might be stored, particularly on the villages within the purple and orange zones. Agriculture officers, with the assistance of officers of a number of different departments, together with Panchayati Raj, police, income and the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), won’t solely maintain a vigil but in addition make the farmers conscious of the correct administration of stubble. Nodal officers have additionally been appointed to verify the menace of stubble burning.

“Local-level committees are being constituted to keep an eye on the erring farmers,” says Sanjeev Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department.

Kaushal is hopeful that the plan will assist in lowering the variety of stubble burning circumstances to an awesome extent.

The division has mounted a goal of creating round 2,000 extra CHCs this season. “We have set up 2,879 CHCs in the state since 2018,” says Jagmander Nain, Joint Director (Agricultural Engineering). These CHCs can even assist the farming group in higher administration of paddy straw.

However, a farmers’ physique says these steps are usually not ample for small and marginal farmers. “Farmers won’t burn stubble if they get machines for the better management of stubble without any rent. The Union government had once announced to set up straw procurement centres to motivate farmers, but nobody knows what happened to the project. The government should open such purchase centres so that instead of burning the stubble, farmers can manage it and further sell it in the market,” says Rattan Mann, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Mann). He says the variety of CHCs and machines is insufficient.

Experts say stubble burning contributes considerably to air air pollution, with the interval between October 15 and November 15 being essential. Dr Rakesh Bhardwaj, Principal, Banwari Lal Jindal Suiwala College, Tosham, and an environmentalist, says the farmers should be made conscious of the respiratory issues attributable to stubble burning and the assorted industrial makes use of of rice/wheat stubble. He fears that the worsening of air high quality may worsen the Covid-19 disaster.

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