Chandigarh, May 19 (IANS) Burning of stubble (residue of harvested crops) by farmers may not escape the scope of law, with the Haryana government using satellite data to identify crop fire points and initiate action.
With a view to checking the menace of stubble-burning and improving the conviction rate in Haryana, the Hisar-based Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC) has starting exploiting satellite data to provide crop fire points on day-to-day basis to facilitate prompt action.
“Crop fire alert system has been made operational during the current season,” Ashok Khemka, Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology of Haryana, said on Friday.
The HARSAC is using data available from MODIS and Suomi satellites of the US through NRSC, ISRO, Hyderabad, to identify active fire points on daily basis.
Though the state government has made stubble-burning a punishable offence, yet, for want of timely information, the conviction rate is very poor.
“The crop fire locations being received through the satellite on daily basis are being sent directly to various officers through SMS alert to initiate immediate action. The crop fire map indicates the fire location and by clicking at the location, it will indicate the latitude and longitudes of the point to enable the enforcement agencies to reach the exact location,” Khemka said.
The data available regarding crop burning sites is mostly for larger agricultural sites.
The actual crop burning sites could be much more than observed as the fire in smaller fields is not discernible with these sensors, he said.
Khemka said the HARSAC scientists started observing active fire locations in all districts from the beginning of the harvesting season in the second week of April.
“During the current harvesting season the HARSAC has observed about 4,300 major crop fire points in the entire state. It is much less than about 13,000 active fire points recorded during the paddy harvesting season using the same technology,” he said.
The menace is much severe during the kharif season compared to rabi season as contrary to wheat straw, paddy straw is not palatable to the cattle and hence is set ablaze.
“In a single day, the crop was set ablaze at maximum 658 and 602 locations in the state on May 2 and 5 respectively,” Khemka added.
Crop stubble burning in both rabi and kharif seasons has emerged as a menace in this region, causing environmental problems. It leads to haze and smog over north India, especisally Delhi, during winter months.