‘Mann’ ki smoke: Highest stubble fire count in Punjab CM’s constituency


Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s constituency Sangrur has reported the maximum stubble fire incidents in all of Punjab and the other states adjoining Delhi-NCR between September 15 to November 9 even as total fire count has come down this year.

Next few days are crucial as paddy harvest season wraps up next week in Punjab, which accounts for a majority of farm burnings – a major contributor to air pollution in the capital during this time of the year.

The state has recorded 34,868 such incidents between September 15 and November 9, down from 47,554 fire counts during the same period last year and from 69,372 in 2020, central government data accessed by ET show.

At 5,207 fire counts so far this year, Sangrur district has led the unenviable tally, followed by Patiala – former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s constituency – with 3,161 fire incidents, Firozpur with 3,151 and Tarn Taran district with close to 3,000 fire counts, data show.

It is estimated that 75% of paddy residue in Punjab has already been addressed so far, whether through ex situ management or burnt up.

The Punjab government asserted in a central government review held last week that it is working on reducing the total burning cases to 35,000-45,000 range this year against 71,304 fire counts recorded in 2021.

The latest data does offer a glimmer of hope.

Between September 15 to November 9, 2022, a total of 43,730 burning events have been detected in the six states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, as per the Indian Agricultural Research Institute’s CREAMS satellite data report.

A district wise assessment – especially in areas known to burn up paddy residue in vast amounts – is also being done to check for efficacy of measures taken so far. Sangrur has improved its score from 10,261 fire counts between September 15- November 9 in 2020, to 5,697 during the same period in 2021 to 5,207 in 2022.


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