Chandigarh, August 11, 2019 (Yes Punjab News)
With a view to making Punjab a ‘zero stubble burning state’, the Punjab Agriculture Department has initiated a massive drive to provide more than 28000 agro-machines/farm equipment to farmers with subsidy component of Rs. 278 crore during the current fiscal under first phase for in-situ management of paddy residue.
According to an official spokesperson, Subsidy ranging from 50% to 80% is being provided to the farmers under the scheme with 80 percent subsidy to cooperative societies and farmers groups while 50 percent for individuals.
The State government has focused to deliver state-of-the-art machines to farmers including Super SMS, Happy Seeder, Paddy Straw Chopper/Shredder/Mulcher, Hydraulic Reversible Mould Board Plough and Zero Till Drill.
The Secretary Agriculture KS Pannu informed that department received around 12000 applications from individual farmers and farmers groups and Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) till date for subsidized machinery.
He further said that under first phase, around 15000 machines are being subsidized at 50% for individual farmers, another 13000 agro-machines are being provided to around 2200 farmer groups/Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) at a subsidy of 80% to establish Farm Machinery Banks (FMBs) to be used as Custom Hiring Centres. He said that in order to supply the requisite machinery to the farmers, the Agriculture Department has fully geared up to complete the task of distribution of these implements before September 15, 2019.
The Agriculture Department had also already initiated Information Education Communication (IEC) activities to educate farmers about the ill-effects of paddy straw burning. This awareness campaign was primarily aimed at imparting training to farmers and practical demonstration of equipments for In-Situ Crop Residue Management.
The Agriculture department also urged the farmers to make optimum use of subsidized agri-machinery to do away the practice of stubble burning thereby ensuring health and hygiene of the people besides preserving the environment of the state.
During 2018-19, total of 28,609 machines has been provided to individual farmers on 50% subsidy out of which 12075 machines have been provided to Individual Farmers and remaining 16,534 machines have been provided to Cooperative Societies & Farmers Group on 80% subsidy.
Notably, the Paddy has been brought down to 30 lac hectares of land in Punjab. After harvesting paddy, about 20 million tonnes of paddy straw is expected to be left in the fields to be managed by farmers before sowing the next Rabi crops.