There has been a significant reduction this year in stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and the eight districts of Uttar Pradesh that are part of the National Capital Region, PTI reported on Friday, quoting the Centre’s Air Quality Commission.

Farmers in these three states burn the residue of their paddy harvest since it is a cost-effective and time-saving measure to prepare the fields for sowing of the other crops like wheat. However, the practice results in increased levels of air pollution in vast areas of North India.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas has said that incidents of farmers burning the residue of paddy crops reduced by 69.49% in Punjab in the past month, compared to the same period last year.

Such incidents reduced by 18.28% in Haryana and 47.61% in the eight districts of Uttar Pradesh, the commission said in a report.

“Total 1,795 fire counts reported for the one-month period till October 14 as against 4,854 instances reported in the corresponding period during 2020,” the commission said. “Enforcement agencies have so far inspected 663 of the total reported sites in Punjab, Haryana and NCR districts of Uttar Pradesh.”

The commission that an environment compensation penalty has been imposed in 252 of these cases.

No instances of stubble burning were reported from Delhi and the two districts in Rajasthan that are a part of the National Capital Region.

Last month, the Commission for Air Quality Management had directed the governments of Delhi and adjoining states to implement strict action plans, including the use of bio-decomposers, to combat stubble burning in farms during winter.