Stubble burning: Punjab and Haryana farmers employ nighttime stubble burning tactics to evade detection
Stubble burning: Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have reportedly resorted to burning stubble at night to avoid detection by satellites and local officials who are working to combat farm fires, which have contributed to the air pollution crisis in Delhi NCR.
Official data suggests a reduction in farm fire incidents this year. However, this decrease doesn't align with the scale of paddy cultivation. For instance, in Punjab's Ludhiana, where over 56,000 farmers harvested paddy, fewer than 1,000 farm fire incidents were reported, indicating that many fires may be going undetected.
Farmers are exploiting a loophole in the reporting system. Daily farm fire counts are updated by 8 pm, so aware of this timing, farmers are setting fields on fire after 8 pm.
Haryana employs satellite imaging to detect farm fires, but this monitoring is not continuous. According to Dr. Sultan Singh, the director of Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), satellite imaging is conducted at 12-hour intervals, potentially allowing some fires to escape detection.
In Haryana, some farmers believe that burning crop residue after sunset may evade satellite detection, as satellite imagery relies on temperature changes to identify farm fires. However, experts argue that temperature variations occur at any time, not just during the day.
Undetected farm fires result in discrepancies in data, affecting the government's decision-making process. As Delhi faces hazardous air quality, the Supreme Court has urged the governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan to collaborate with the central government to address the issue of farm fires urgently.
- With inputs from agencies