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Stubble being burnt in a field on the outskirts of Amritsar on Oct 13, 2017IANS

With Delhi and most of Northern India in a toxic haze, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday in a bit of good news said that stubble burning has gone down by 12 percent Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Tomar said that in the same period last year, 35,717 incidents while there  31,402 this year, according to the ICAR bulletin and hence there is a reduction in the burning. According to data released by Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi is actually the 14th most polluted city and Jind, a city in Haryana took the first place with its AQI at 448

The data also revealed that most of the polluted cities were in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.  There has been an 8.7 per cent decrease in such biomass fires in Punjab from 27,584 to 25,366. Similarly, in Haryana, there were 5000 such fires in Haryana last year which has reduced to 4,414, a decrease of 11.7 per cent. In Uttar Pradesh, the stubble burning incidents have reduced drastically by 48.2 per cent from 3,133 to 1,622 in the current year.

Delhi pollution

Schemes to reduce pollution

Tomar said as part of the scheme to reduce pollution, the Centre had launched a scheme for the distribution of machines to curb the practice of stubble burning. In the year 2018-19, an amount of Rs 1,150 crore was allocated for providing these machines to farmers in the three states. Out of this, Rs 584 crore was disbursed to the states, out of which 56,290 machines were procured through financial assistance provided by the scheme.

Tomar said that in 2019-20, the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and UP, have been provided Rs 594 crore, in which 29,488 machines have been procured and provided to the farmers. This scheme was rolled out after the directions of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in 2017 when measures to tackle air pollution were framed and a committee was set up in the Agriculture Ministry.