Air quality 'poor' in Pb, Haryana

Chandigarh, Nov 18 (PTI) The air quality in several parts of Punjab and Haryana on Monday saw marginal improvement but remained in the 'poor' category.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Mandi Gobindgarh town of Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib district and Jind in Haryana reported their respective Air Quality Indices (AQIs) at 294 and 280.

The AQIs recorded in Yamunanagar, Panipat and Ambala districts were 243, 202 and 204 respectively.

The districts in Haryana where the AQI was in “moderate” category were Fatehabad (182), Gurugram (140), Hisar (178), Rohtak (199), Karnal (132), the CPCB said.

A few places in Haryana and Punjab had reported AQIs in “very poor” categories two days ago.

In Punjab, the respective AQIs of Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Khanna were in 'moderate' category at 171, 119 and 122.

Chandigarh, the common capital of both the states, witnessed air quality index at 102, it stated.

Nowhere in Punjab and Haryana was air quality reported in “very poor” and “severe” categories.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'Good', 51-100 'Satisfactory', 101-200 'Moderate', 201-300 'Poor', 301-400 'Very Poor' and 401-500 'Severe'. Above 500 falls in the 'Severe plus' category.

Meanwhile, the number of farm fire incidents, considered a major reason for the pollution in the two states and neighbouring areas, including Delhi, had dropped significantly over the past few days.

In all, the total farm fire incidents between September 23 and November 17 this year in Punjab were 49,157 as against 43,288 and 48,604 in corresponding period of 2017 and 2018, respectively, an official of Ludhiana based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre said.

On Sunday, 352 farm fire incidents took place in the state, the official added.

Haryana has reported a total of over 6,000 farm fire incident in this season so far, he said.

Farmers' outfit Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and BKU (Dakonda) on Monday announced to stage sit-in protests in front of Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) offices throughout the state on November 25 to press for withdrawal of FIRs lodged and fines imposed against farmers for stubble burning.

BKU (Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said if the cases were not withdrawn against farmers, then they would 'gherao' police offices in the state.

In Punjab, more than 1,500 FIRs had been registered against erring farmers for defying the ban on stubble burning and a fine of Rs 3.01 crore had been imposed on more than 11,000 farmers for stubble burning, while 71 harvesting machines had been impounded.

The Punjab government had disbursed over Rs 19 crore to 29,800 non-basmati paddy cultivating small and marginal farmers from across the state, who did not burn the paddy residue.

The state government had decided to give Rs 2,500 per acre as compensation to those small and marginal farmers, who have refrained from burning paddy straw. PTI CHS VSD AD