Delhi ( New Delhi)

NCR’s wind in the severe region; 33% more fires in Punjab than last year

Even as the air quality in the Delhi-NCR region touched the ‘severe’ mark, sources in the environment ministry said burning of paddy residue in Punjab in the last month compared to the same period the previous year. An increase of 33.5% was observed.

Per standard ISRO protocol, for September 15 to October 28, 10,214 crop residue burning cases were reported in Punjab against 7,648 in the same period last year. Of the 10,214 stubble-burning cases, 7,100, or 69% of the total, were reported in the past week alone.

The Air Quality Management Commission (CAQM) held an emergency meeting on Saturday regarding the deteriorating air quality. It announced the implementation of the Stage III Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the entire NCR region.

CAQM chairperson M M Kutty has also written to the Punjab Chief Secretary requesting immediate action on the fire in the fields and a comprehensive report in all the reported cases. The Speaker said that the ineffective implementation of the statutory instructions issued by the CAQM is a matter of concern. Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav can also take up this matter with Punjab.

The ministry has revealed that till October 24, only about 45-50% of the area sown in Punjab has been harvested. “The contribution of stubble burning to the adverse air quality scenario in Delhi-NCR is currently 18-20% and is likely to increase,” sources said.

During this paddy harvesting season in Punjab, about 71% of field fires have been reported from seven districts – Amritsar, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala and Tarn Taran.

Over the past two months, the CAQM has held regular meetings with officials from the neighbouring states of NCR, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and has been monitoring the situation of stubble burning as well as issuing directions.

Under the directions of CAQM, a comprehensive action plan was prepared by the Punjab Government, which included crop diversification, in-situ crop residue management, bio-decomposer application, ex-situ crop residue management, awareness campaign and monitoring and enforcement.

The Center has said that it has provided Rs 1,347 crore to Punjab under the Crop Residue Management (CRM) scheme in the last five years.

“The utilization of machinery, however, has been very poor and a large number of machines are unused, a serious drain on resources,” the sources said.

The ministry further alleged that despite the success of using bio-decomposers in UP and Delhi for in-situ management, the machines were not deployed in Punjab. Good straw has not been used as fodder for ex-situ management, and awareness campaigns by the state have not been effective. Ministry officials said more incidents of burning remains are also an indication of failures in monitoring and enforcement.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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