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Friday, Oct 07, 2022

Ahead of stubble burning season, Punjab appoints nodal officers, gives machines to farmers

Sources said that Punjab's agriculture department is trying to take the farmers’ unions into confidence to control stubble burning and start a mass movement.

As per Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), paddy stubble was burnt on 15.47 lakh hectares in 2021 and 17.96 lakh hectares in 2022. (Express)

With the harvesting of early maturing Basmati rice variety – Pusa 1509 – and other crops slated to start in a month, the Punjab government is getting ready to control stubble burning.

Not only has the state agriculture department already received over 1 lakh applications for stubble management machines that the government provides on subsidy as part of its ongoing Crop Residue Management (CRM) scheme, but nodal officers for every village have also been appointed across the state this year.

Sources said that the agriculture department is trying to take the farmers’ unions into confidence to control stubble burning and start as mass movement. The state has 90,422 stubble management machines, including around 35,000 happy seeder and super seeder machines. This year nearly 32,000 machines will be distributed by providing around Rs 450 crores subsidy.

Director of agriculture department Dr Gurvinder Singh said that minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal has prepared the Information Education Communication (IEC) campaign, through which we will educate the people about the harmful effects of stubble burning on the environment, soil, human health etc.
He added that there are a large number of farmers who are not burning stubble and getting very good results for the succeeding crops.

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“In our physical and social media campaigns we will take everyone along, including farmers, youth and women. We need to change the mindset,” said joint director agriculture (engineering wing) Jagdish Singh, adding that nodal officers from the agriculture department and allied departments have already been appointed for every village along with supervisory officers.

He said that though the state has over 90,000 machines, there is still a huge demand for them. The peak season for harvesting and stubble burning lasts for around 25 days and during this period, stubble management machines are required for every farmer as he has to sow the next crop on time. Considering this, the number of available machines is not sufficient to manage stubble of around 3 million hectares of rice area. The state produces nearly 20 million tonnes of paddy stubble.

A senior officer in the agriculture department said that to manage stubble, the state needs over 1.5 lakh machines.

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As per Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), paddy stubble was burnt on 15.47 lakh hectares in 2021, 17.96 lakh hectares in 2022, 18.95 lakh hectares in 2019, 17.81 lakh hectares in 2018 and 19.78 lakh hectares in 2017. Stubble burning cases in these years were 50,841 in 2017, 51,751 in 2018, 53,149 in 2019, 76,929 in 2020) and 71,304 in 2021.

Experts from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) Ludhiana said that nine districts – Sangrur, Patiala, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran, Moga, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Jalandhara and Amritsar – are big defaulters and if the government can focus on these then more than 80% fire incidents can be controlled.

Meanwhile, from this season the subsidised machines under CRM will bear bold numbers with code numbers of Punjab and manufacturers.

First published on: 17-08-2022 at 08:30:59 am
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