Data Stories

Why Punjab Govt Needs to Act Swiftly to Help Delhi Breathe – See the Residue Burning Data

residue burning

After a brief relief of couple of days, the National Capital is under severe pollution once again. There are many factors attributed to the decline of air quality in this particular season in Delhi. However, residue burning in the adjoining states is the main cause of concern. When Delhi had come under smog the last time, Punjab Chief Minister had written an emotional letter to Prime Minister arguing that the blame should not be put on him.

But now, as Delhi is again suffering from depleting air quality, there are some facts that needs to be put forward. These figures from ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) show that the Punjab government has to do much more to contain residue burning.

Delhi’s Fight for Breath and the Residue Burning

After the “public health emergency” situation a fortnight ago, Delhi once again entered into unhealthy air quality condition November 10 onwards. By November 12, we were seeing the headlines that cautioned that already severe pollution is likely to enter the emergency level.

Now see the data collected by ICAR that records residue burning using the satellite remote sensing technology. November 10 onwards, the residue burning instances that number in the thousands per day come from the state of Punjab. Though the residue burning record comes from the other states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana as well but they are very restricted and had not touched even half a thousand in a day.

Between October 1, 2019 to November 13, 2019, total 54,776 burning events were detected in the three states. Now see the share of each state in this count that itself explains who is greatly responsible for residue burning.

Punjab- 46221

Haryana- 5823

UP- 2732

In the below graphs taken from the ICAR bulletin, we have especially highlighted the residue counting after November 10 which apparently caused the present predicament of Delhi.



Uttar Pradesh

Highest Funds to Punjab

Thus, it is evident that Punjab government has majorly failed to contain residue burning. Moreover, it cannot simply blame the Centre for not helping the farmers. Compared to other two states, Punjab has received more funds from the Centre for providing farmers with mechanization that in turn avoid the residue burning.

The Central Sector Scheme, ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi’ was launched with a total outgo of Rs 1,151.80 crores for the period from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

During 2018-19, the funds released to the three states as follows:

Punjab- Rs 269.38 crores

Haryana- Rs 137.84 crores

Uttar Pradesh- Rs 148.60 crores

During 2018-19, the funds released to the three states as follows:

Punjab- Rs 273.80 crores

Haryana- Rs 192.06 crores

Uttar Pradesh- Rs 105.29 crores

Now, with once again the national capital is facing a serious air quality problem and the Supreme Court also noting that the states have failed to control stubble burning, is this not the time for Punjab Chief Minister to consider the hard data and help Delhi with his swift actions? Or is he already penning another emotional letter to the PM?