A total of 1,908 cases of stubble burning have been reported from different sub-divisions of Amritsar until now, said district commissioner Gurpreet Singh on Saturday. 

“The administration has imposed a fine of 10.32 lakhs for environmental compensation and marked 62 red entries in e-Girdawari,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Further, he said that authorities are giving the required machinery to the cooperative department to distribute amongst farmers. “Compared to 2020, the area of stubble burning has come down by 19% this year in the district,” said Singh. 

This comes even as Supreme Court said on Saturday that the problem with stubble burning is not enforcement of orders, but providing incentives to farmers. 

“If you put in place the incentives, then why won’t a farmer switch? You cannot enforce these things,” the bench said.

The apex court said though machines for stubble management are available, poor farmers cannot afford these machines.

“After the agrarian laws, the landholding in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana is less than three acres. We can’t expect those farmers to purchase those machines. Why can’t the Centre and the state governments provide the machines? Take away the stubble for use in paper mills and various other purposes. In winters, the stubble can be used for fodder for goats etc. in Rajasthan,” said the SC bench. 

“Can the officials assisting you point out the actual price of the machine after subsidy? Can the farmer afford it? I am a farmer and I know it, the CJI is also from a farmer family, he also knows it and my brother (Justice Chandrachud) also knows it,” it added. 

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had recently written to his Union counterpart Bhupender Yadav, calling for an emergency meeting with all NCR states to discuss the issue of stubble burning.

There has been no response so far to Rai’s first letter dated 7 November in this regard.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality forecast agency SAFAR, stubble burning has accounted for at least 25% of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution for eight days on the trot, starting 4 November.

The share of farm fires in Delhi’s pollution rose to 48% on Sunday, the highest since 5 November 2018, when it was recorded at 58%.

 

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