Friday, March 24, 2023

Just 500 machines to check stubble burning


Patiala, September 4: Punjab, which saw 43,800 stubble-burning cases post paddy harvesting last year, may be headed for a choked winter ahead. It has at its disposal barely 500 machines to take care of the leftover straw as against the government sanction for 20,000.

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These machines were to be delivered by August 31. The deadline has now been extended to September 30.

With the harvesting season barely over a month away, the Punjab Government and the Centre are working hard to ensure there are enough machines in the fields to check stubble-burning, the target  being 25,000. The state had placed orders for 14,026 machines (including Happy Seeders, Super-Straw Management System). But till date it has received merely 500 on subsidised rates.

As per official records, the subsidy on the machine is 50 per cent if purchased by individual farmers and 80 per cent if bought by cooperatives, farmers’ groups and custom hiring centres.

The Centre had in March this year approved a Rs 1,151-crore scheme to promote paddy straw management in Punjab. The state was allotted a budget of Rs 695 crore to be spent in two financial years (2018-20). The remaining amount was meant for Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Under the scheme, the users were to deposit the subsidised amount with the Agriculture Department, which would then place the order with makers once their applications were cleared. Manufacturers say the delay in delivery is owing to payments not being cleared on time, forcing them to spend from their own pocket. “We were to get the money by August-end but haven’t received any. Even the balance on the subsidy is not being reimbursed on time,” they claim.

Officiating Additional Director, Agriculture (Engg) Manmohan Kalia says they expect the machines by October. “The idea is to promote straw management. We will manage even if the machines are not received by October.”

“Supplying machines in such a large number in less than a month seems a tough task. We will continue issuing challans and imposing fines on farmers who resort to stubble-burning”, warned Punjab Pollution Control Board member-secretary Karunesh Garg.

Source Tribune India



Punjabi Khurki
Punjabi Khurki
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