Farmers continue to burn stubble despite banVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1501:15 There has been a spike in agricultural fires — a phenomenon that’s known to worsen air pollution — in Punjab in September, significantly more than in the same month last year.Krunesh Garg, member-secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said there were 107 fires from September 24-26. In 2018 there were only 11 fires during the same period. However, in 2016 and 2017 there were 106 and 150 fires respectively from September 27-30.Mr. Garg said last year’s numbers were unusually low because paddy harvesting was delayed due to the persistence of the monsoon. “Last year, the onset of monsoon was late and it persisted well into October. This year, harvesting of basmati varieties of rice has already begun, hence the apparent rise in September,” he said.Agricultural fires, in which farmers set fire to their fields after harvesting paddy, tend to begin around late September and peak around the last week of October by which time farmers have harvested most of their paddy. There were 80,879 fire incidents detected during the paddy harvesting season in 2016, 43,660 in 2017 and about 40,000 in 2018. “There was a 10% reduction last year from 2017 and we expect around the same reduction this year,” Mr. Garg said. Watch | Farmers continue to burn stubble despite ban Punjab’s fires tend to worsen Delhi’s pollution as particulate matter floats into the city, affecting the already polluted winter air.The Centre and Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had — over several meetings last year — declared a “zero tolerance” policy on stubble burning by farmers which, according to various studies, contributes anywhere from 17% to 78% to the particulate matter emission load in Delhi during winter.Last year, the Union Agriculture Ministry earmarked ₹591 crore for disbursal to Punjab, Haryana and U.P. to help farmers access machines that collect or plough the stubble back into the soil.A senior official in the Union Agriculture Ministry said in spite of subsidies, the implements were “expensive” for the farmers and thus it was cheaper for them to set chaff ablaze.(With inputs fromPriscilla Jebaraj)
Vodafone Spain and Orange have struck a deal with Catalan broadcaster Mediapro that secures for them the rights to provide coverage of La Liga football and the Copa del Rey for the next three seasons.Vodafone and Mediapro have struck a deal whereby Vodafone will distribute Mediapro’s beIN Sports La Liga channel, including coverage of Spanish first division matches as well as the Copa del Rey for the 2016-19 seasons.The agreement means that Vodafone will be able to provide eight matches a day to its subscribers via the channel, including a minimum of 18 each featuring Real Madrid and Barcelona. The channel will be made available via the Ono fibre network and xDSL TV as well as via the Vodafone TV Online OTT service.Vodafone also has a deal to distribute the beIN Sports channel, which includes coverage of European football competitions, for the next two seasons.A similar deal for Orange means that both telcos now have guarantees that they will be able to compete with Telefónica’s Movistar, which is January struck a €2.4 billion deal with Mediapro to offer its customers all competitions to which Mediapro held the rights for the next three seasons, including La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the European Champions League and Europa League competitions.The deals do not include the major game of each day – El Partidazo – to which Telefónica holds the rights. Vodafone and Orange have however reportedly indicated that they will provide a complete offering, either by striking a deal with Telefónica or by filing a complaint with the competition regulator if this is not possible.