Since September 15, the number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana has significantly decreased by approximately 56% and 40% respectively, compared to the same period last year. According to the Centre’s Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the total farm fires in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and NCR areas of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have dropped from 13,964 in 2022 to 6,391 in 2023 between September 15 and October 29.
Specifically, Punjab witnessed 5,254 stubble-burning incidents during this 45-day period this year, showing a reduction of 56.6% from 2022 and 41.6% from 2021. Similarly, Haryana reported 1,094 cases, marking a decrease of 39.7% from 2022 and 54.7% from 2021.
To aid in managing crop residues, the Central government has allocated around Rs. 3,333 crore under the Crop Residue Management Scheme to states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Delhi. These funds are utilized for subsidizing the purchase of machines by farmers, custom hiring centers, and cooperatives. These machines facilitate in-situ management of paddy straw, as well as baling/raking machines and equipment for ex-situ applications.
Currently, there are 1,17,672 crop residue management (CRM) machines in Punjab, 80,071 in Haryana, and 7,986 in UP-NCR. Additionally, procurement is underway to acquire 23,000 CRM machines in Punjab, 7,572 in Haryana, and 595 in Uttar Pradesh to enhance their availability during the ongoing harvesting season.
Despite the reduction in stubble-burning incidents, there has been a recent uptick in Punjab, likely due to the peak in harvesting activities. On October 29 alone, Punjab reported 1,068 stubble burning cases, as reported by CAQM.