Although paddy harvesting is on full swing in Punjab, the state government is yet to provide around 1100 subsidised farm implements proposed for this year to manage the straw from the harvest. This delay may result in farmers burning the straw thereby increasing air pollution in surrounding areas, including Delhi.
This year, Punjab was sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the machines that include 125 balers, 125 mould board blows and gyro rakes, 300 happy seeders, 445 choppers and shredders – all used to manage the paddy stubble. The state has almost 30 lakh hectares under paddy, which means a large number of machines will be required.
The Rs 10 crore is miniscule considering, according to the agriculture department, Rs 1600 crore will be required over the next five years to provide subsidised machines. “However, Punjab has not even received the Rs 10 crore yet. When it does come and we give farmers the machines, it would be time to sow wheat,” said a senior officer from the department.
Agriculture department director Dr. Jasbir Singh Bains said his department was trying to provide farmers this machine before the wheat sowing season.