Chandigarh: Stubble in over two lakh hectares of land was burnt last year in Haryana despite the state government cracking the whip on farmers who defied orders restricting the practice.
Crop-residue burning had led to air pollution across the region and also severely affected air quality in the National Capital Region.
According to the Hisar-based Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), the area in which stubble was burnt in 2016 was more than what it was in the previous two years and the same as 2013.
Many farmers in Haryana and neighbouring Punjab have over the years continued with the practice that has led to health risk and adversely affected soil health.
Rice plantation takes place in the state in June and July and paddy is harvested from the first fortnight of October to the first fortnight of November.
An official said it has been pointed out by farmers that mechanised combine harvesting, which has become common in the region, leaves behind large quantities of straws in the field.
“Farmer has to clear fields for next sowing, he takes the easy way out of burning the crop residue, which is wrong,” he said.
Among the solutions to this problem, the official said, “If this crop residue can be made easily digestible as fodder for the animals, then it can be one way to deal with the problem.”
He also said workshops to educate farmers should be held frequently to make them aware about negative effects of burning the residue.
Both Punjab and Haryana governments have imposed a ban on burning of paddy residue and the erring farmers can also be prosecuted by the authorities.
However, during October-November last year, reports from various areas of the states, suggested that farmers continued to burn paddy straw despite being asked to shun the practice by the state pollution control boards and the agriculture departments.
Farmers are also being provided subsidy on farm implements like happy seeder, rotavators, straw reapers for managing straw in a sustainable manner.
In the last few years it has been noted that when stubble is burned in the two leading agrarian states, the pollutants enter Delhi, adversely affecting the air quality in the national capital.
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