Farmers in Punjab Block Railway Track Near Batala to Protest Against Ban on Stubble Burning and Other Issues
Farmers in Punjab Block Railway Track (Photo Credits: ANI)

Chandigarh, October 18: Scores of farmers in Punjab blocked the railway track near Batala on Thursday to protest against the ban on stubble burning and demand more sugar mills in the state. The national capital region is bracing for choking smog owing to constant stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Strict action has been taken against farmers who burn crop stubble ahead of the sowing season.

The air quality in Delhi remained "very poor" for the second consecutive day on Thursday. As per the latest Air Quality Index (AQI) data, the air quality of Delhi's Lodhi Road area showed levels of prominent pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 224 and 272, respectively, above normal. It must be noted that an AQI between 0 and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe". Punjab: Farmers Protest Against Ban on Stubble Burning, Say 'Have No Option But to Set Crop Residue on Fire'.

Farmers have been upset as they say that the alternatives to stubble burning are too costly. They are of the opinion that compensation must be provided by the government to stop stubble burning. Meanwhile, some farmers in Punjab are continuing to burn stubble in Ludhiana's Raul village, owing to the absence of machinery. One of the farmers said that it is difficult to prepare compost with the help of machines as it takes almost 20 days for the whole process to be completed. 'Stubble Burning Leads to Tuberculosis,' Says IMA President Ravi Wankhedkar. 

On Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for compensation to farmers to discourage them from burning stubble. Singh warned that the problem could aggravate if the matter is not addressed urgently. According to a report by PTI, the prime minister was sympathetic to the problem of farmers, said Singh, who is pressing for Rs 100 per quintal compensation to farmers to check stubble burning.

Stubble burning is not recommended as particles from stubble burning combine with industrial pollution, vehicle exhaust and dust to cover the region every year as winter approaches and wind speeds drop. As the stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is causing deterioration of air quality in Delhi-NCR, strict norms have been implemented in these areas.