To check stubble burning this kharif (summer) season, the Punjab government has appointed 8,000 nodal officers in villages that grow paddy. Over 23,000 crop residue management machines are being given to farmers for on-site management of straw.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to farmers not to burn crop residue because the practice could aggravate the conditions helping COVID-19 to spread, besides causing pollution. He said the State was taking measures to sensitise the farmers to the problem and it had been pressing the Centre for ₹100 per quintal to farmers for managing the paddy straw without burning it.
Until November 15, the nodal officers will work in close coordination with the staff members of the Departments of Cooperation, Revenue, Rural Development and Agriculture, panchayats and the Punjab Pollution Control Board. With the help of a Super SMS system, they will prepare a list of owners who have rented out their land and call up the owners and warn them that a red mark will be made in their land records if they fail to prevent the burning of straw.
They will create awareness in villages by demonstrating the use of crop residue management machines, handing out pamphlets, making announcements from gurdwara, besides delivering lectures to school students, who would in turn create awareness among their parents.
Subsidy on machines
The Chief Minister said that as part of the strategy, the Department of Agriculture, which he heads, was giving 23,500 crop residue management machines to farmers, either individually or in groups or through cooperative societies, at a subsidy of 50%-80%.
These were in addition to 51,000 machines given over the past two years.
Paddy has been grown this year on 27 lakh hectares, including 7 lakh hectares under basmati.