The Punjab government has sought a budget of nearly Rs 2000 crore from the Centre to fight the menace of stubble burning in the state. It has sought Rs 1602 core to provide a special subsidy to farmers for straw management equipment, apart from Rs 384 crore to give as compensation at the rate of “Rs 1000-1500 per acre for not burning the stubble”.
Last year, only Rs 15 crore were distributed as subsidy for straw management equipment under the Rajiv Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Yozna (RKVY).
Now, the agriculture department has sent a proposal of Rs 1602 crore to the Union Agriculture Ministry so that subsidy can be generously distributed to help farmers purchase straw management equipment. The equipments under this category are used for sowing seeds without stubble burning. They include seeders, rotavators, choppers, shredders, balers, among others.
The proposal was sent during the paddy season, but so far no reply has come from the Centre.
However, to comply with NGT orders, agriculture department as well as the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) is trying to spread awareness among farmers. The PPCB has even issued challans to farmers for violating norms.
Director Agriculture Dr Jasbir Singh told The Indian Express, “No doubt we are spreading awareness among masses and stubble burning has been less this year compared to last season. However, it can be controlled fully if farmers buy straw management equipment and if subsidy is provided on these equipments in a generous way. Only then results will be much more encouraging. In the last financial year, we distributed Rs 15 crore through RKVY for these equipments which was not enough for an agrarian state. As of now we distribute subsidy through draw of lots and not many can avail this benefit.”
Dr Jasbir said, “This process is on and we are yet to get funds…We are also waiting for funds for the current financial year.”