Friday, December 10, 2010

No let up in straw burning, admn yet to wake up

No let up in straw burning, admn yet to wake up 
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, November 9
It was pitch-dark on a few stretches on the Ferozepur-Fazilka road before the sunset. The thick layer of smoke emanating from the paddy fields brought the visibility to nil making vehicular movement difficult and exposing them to accidents.

A similar situation was found in other parts of this border district where a large section of farmers are involved in paddy cultivation including Basmati, a late sowing variety. Till now, there is no improvement in the situation and layers of smoke arising due to the burning of paddy stubble and paddy straw has gripped various parts of the district.

With the authorities concerned failing to take action against the farmers involved in setting their fields on fire to prepare it for sowing of wheat, under the 'undeclared instructions' of the SAD-BJP government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, known for his pro-farmer stance, the situation in this district has deteriorated.

Black patches of burnt paddy fields in large areas could be seen in every nook and corner of this district where the authorities concerned failed to register any criminal case against any farmer so far. The thick layer of smoke, that reduced visibility, had caused two road accidents in Fazilka belt in the past three days.

"I will deploy SDMs and Tehsildar concerned to check this menace and take action against the guilty," assured Deputy Commissioner K K Yadav. Interestingly, he gave the same answer when he was asked this about two weeks back. A senior functionary of the agriculture department, while pleading anonymity, pointed out that thousands of acres of paddy field had been set on fire by the farmers to burn stubble and straw in this district alone. The trend had been catching up every year as the state government lacked the political will to take the farmers concerned to task.

The burning of paddy stubble and straw has become a major source of eye ailments and allergies as the number of patients suffering from these has taken a significant jump in the past few weeks as per the reports collected from the state government-run and private clinics.

"There is a jump of about 25 per cent to 30 per cent in the number of those patients, who have been suffering from eye irritation, respiratory disorders, allergies, influenza and chest infections in almost all the hospitals dotting this region, "pointed out Kanwar Jit Singh Kakkar, Civil Surgeon.

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