Over 930 FIRs registered against farmers for burning stubble: Punjab Police

CHANDIGARH, Nov 19: Punjab Police has registered 932 FIRs against farmers for burning crop residue since November 8 while a fine of Rs 1.67 crore has been imposed in 7,405 cases, a senior official said on Sunday.

According to the Special Director General of Police Arpit Shukla, red entries were made in the revenue records of 340 farmers for stubble burning.

He said concerted efforts by the Punjab Police to prevent stubble burning have yielded significant results as case of farm fire fell “drastically” in the last two days. On Sunday and Saturday, the state recorded 740 and 637 farm fire cases respectively.

Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is considered one of the reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November. Delhi’s air quality index stood at 290 at 7 am.

The 24-hour average AQI of Delhi, recorded at 4 pm every day, was 319 on Saturday, 405 on Friday and 419 on Thursday. In many parts of Haryana and Punjab, air quality indices remained in ‘very poor’ and ‘poor’ categories.

Amid a spike in pollution levels in Delhi-NCR, the Supreme Court on November 7 directed Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to ensure crop residue burning was stopped “forthwith”, saying it cannot let “people die” due to pollution.

Thereafter, DGP Gaurav Yadav appointed Arpit Shukla the police nodal officer to monitor action against stubble burning.

In a statement, Shukla said legal action is being initiated against those found burning stubble. He exhorted farmers to cooperate and not burn crop residue, which will not only lead to the deterioration of the environment but will also affect the health of children.

The Punjab police chief has also been holding daily meetings with senior officers, range officers, police commissioners, senior superintendents of police and station house officers to review stubble burning cases and issued show cause notices to SSPs of those districts, which have witnessed a high stubble burning cases.

Shukla, who has been visiting districts to review the ground-level situation, termed this significant downfall in farm fire cases a result of untiring efforts by the police personnel and civil administration officials working at the ground level.

As many as 1,072 flying squads comprising police and civil officials have been keeping vigil, while senior police officials have been holding meetings with farmer leaders at a district level.

At least 2,189 such meetings have been held since November 8. (PTI)