Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Sunday ordered a social pre-audit of the Crop Residue Management (CRM) scheme for supplying farm equipment on subsidy to farmers.
“The social pre-audit, by the Agriculture Department, will nail the lies being propagated by certain vested political interests,” Amarinder said, adding that not a single farmer has questioned the quality of the equipment being supplied under the scheme, aimed at ensuring scientific disposal of paddy straw.
He said the pre-audit will seek to make the scheme more efficacious, broad-based and farmer-friendly with the ultimate goal of making the state free of pollution triggered by stubble burning. Suggestions and objections, if any, will be invited from all stakeholders for this purpose.
The Union Government has been running the scheme for the past two years for distributing machinery among farmers and cooperative societies for effective in-situ management of the paddy straw. Under the scheme, farmers from Punjab have been given subsidy of nearly Rs 460 crore on 50,815 farm machines. The Centre has already listed around 180 manufacturers from Punjab to ensure supply of farm equipment in this regard.
During the current year, the government intends to give subsidy approximately to the tune of Rs 300 crore on 23,500 such machines. Amarinder has directed ACS Development Anirudh Tiwari to provide these machines to farmers and societies only after the completion of the said audit.
The ACS said that around 7,000 individual farmers will be given the machines at 50 per cent subsidy, while 5,000 cooperative societies, panchayats and farmers’ groups would be given the machines at 80 per cent subsidized rate.
The machines include super straw management system on combine harvesters, happy seeder, paddy straw chopper, mulcher, RMB plough, zero till drill and super seeder. To further improve the paddy management system, the Agriculture Department has also decided to provide to the farmers mechanised equipment, needed for ex-situ management of paddy straw, such as balers and rakes, on subsidy, said the ACS.
Secretary Agriculture KS Pannu has urged all the farmers, farmer organizations, political parties, machine manufacturers and NGOs to put forward their suggestions and objections in order to make the scheme better aligned to the interests of farmers.
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