56 incidents of unlawful stubble burning reported; highest in Chhata, Nandgaon
This is despite the fact that the authorities have strictly prohibited stubble burning in the region and have issued strict guidelines for its collection and subsequent distribution to private and government Goshalas.
Vrindavan, 2021-10-29 (Vrindavan Today News): Despite government directives on the disposal of crop/farm residue and constant warnings regarding the health and environmental risks it poses, rampant stubble burning has been reported in many talukas (administrative divisions) of Mathura district, with as many as 21 incidents coming to light in Chhata alone. 15 farmers have been issued notices so far; the rest will follow soon.
According to Municipal Commissioner Navneet Singh Chahal, Nandgaon was the second biggest transgressor with 20 incidents being reported in the same period; Chaumuha had 8, and Naujheel, three. Two cases each were confirmed by the authorities in Mathura and Govardhan, taking the total up to 56.
Notifying Chhata, Nandgaon, Chaumuha and Naujheel as sensitive zones where farmers have brazenly carried out large-scale stubble burning, the district magistrate has directed the block nodal officers to remain vigilant in these pockets. Swift action is being taken against those flouting prescribed norms and guidelines. Divisional officers have been asked to expedite the process of imposing and collection of fines.
Visible and frequent Police patrols educating people about the hazards of stubble burning will be carried out to further keep a check. Any combine if found operating without an SMS system on the farms will be seized immediately.
Guidelines have been issued to collect the stubble at one place from where it can be easily distributed to private and government Goshalas via the veterinary officer and BDOs (Block Development Officers). It is worth mentioning here that Maan Mandir’s Mataji Goshala has procured nearly 1500 metric tonnes of farm residue through this process so far.
Relevant here is to recall that just a fortnight back diverging from its usual 120-150 range, the Air Quality Index in Vrindavan had skyrocketed to 292* on the following day of Dussehra, making it the ninth city among the top ten in India with worst air pollution levels.
The heavy smog resulting in people complaining of itching and burning sensation in eyes and breathing difficulty was attributed to burning of effigies and crackers. One can then imagine the deleterious effect these large-scale stubble burnings will have, especially as the winter season sets in. Apart from causing health-related problems, it will also lead to disruption in visibility and life and business in general.
*Normally an AQI of 0-50 is considered ‘good’; 292 falls in the ‘very unhealthy’ range according to the US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency).