Chandigarh, India, Sept 28, 2020 -- In a series of measures to check the menace of stubble burning in the ongoing Kharif season, Punjab Government has appointed 8,000 nodal officers in the paddy-growing villages of the State, with 23,500 more machines being given to farmers for in-situ management of paddy straw.
At the same time, the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has also appealed to the farmers not to burn the crop residue, as it could aggravate COVID-19 conditions apart from leading to pollution spread.
Seeking the support and cooperation of the farmers in preventing stubble burning amid the pandemic, the Chief Minister said that the experts had warned it could have serious implications for the vulnerable people, already suffering from lung and other diseases.
Capt Amarinder said that while he had been repeatedly following up with the Prime Minister for compensation to the farmers for defraying the cost on management of paddy straw, the State was also taking various steps to educate the farmers about the problem.
"The State Government has been seeking from the Centre Rs 100 per quintal as compensation to enable the farmers to manage the paddy straw without burning it," he said.
The nodal officers, who will be working in the villages till November 15, will work in close coordination with the staff of Cooperation, Revenue, Rural Development and Panchayats, Agriculture, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Departments, as well as the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the Guardians of Governance.
Armed with a Super SMS system, these officers will also prepare lists of owners who have given their land on rent (theka) and then call each land owner on phone with the warning that a red entry shall be made in their land record if they fail to ensure that no paddy straw is burning.
The nodal officers will create awareness in villages through CRM (crop residue management) machines, distribution of pamphlets or leaflets, announcements from Gurudwara or by other modes, personal interaction with village schools for organizing rallies and awareness lectures to students who can create further awareness among their parents and other farmers in their villages.
The Agriculture Department has also deputed a dedicated team at the Call Centre on toll free no 1800-180-1551 for quick resolution of the queries of farmers about farm machinery for paddy straw management.
"As part of the state’s stubble management strategy, the Agriculture Department, headed by me, 23,500 more agri-machines are being provided this year to farmers, either individually or in groups or through cooperative societies at a subsidy ranging from 50 to 80 percent. This is in addition to 51,000 paddy straw in-situ management machines provided over the past two years," said the Chief Minister.
Further, various sites have been identified or earmarked in the districts for collection of residues in Common Lands or Cattle Ponds and Gaushalas, where farmers or any entrepreneur can store paddy straw. This stored basmati residue can be transported to places where it can be used as cattle fodder, said the Chief Minister, adding that the District Administration had been directed to facilitate the logistics for transportation of the straw from these sites.
Punjab Government has, in fact, approached the Chief Secretaries of the adjoining States for procurement of this paddy straw and queries had been received so far from the state of Uttarakhand, said the Chief Minister.
The state Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Anirudh Tiwari said that the State Government was also taking appropriate legal and administrative measures, besides creating awareness among people, to curb the menace of paddy stubble burning in view of pandemic.
Notably, paddy has been grown over 27 lakh hectares of land in Punjab this year, including cultivation of Basmati on seven lakh hectares. Cumulatively, this is expected to yield paddy residue of 16.50 million tons.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About Punjab Government:
The Government of Punjab also known as the State Government of Punjab , or locally as State Government, is the supreme governing authority of the Indian state of Punjab and its 22 districts.
Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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