As part of the Chief Minister’s ambitious campaign to control stubble burning, the Punjab Agriculture department has embarked upon a massive programme to provide subsidy worth Rs.395 crore, in the current fiscal, for the purchase of 28,641 agro-machines/farm equipment to farmers for the management of paddy residue.
Subsidy ranging from 50% to 80% is being provided to the farmers under the scheme, according to an official spokesperson.
This is part of the Rs. 665 crore subsidy announced by the Captain Amarinder Singh government for 2018-19 and 2019-20. The remaining amount of Rs. 270 crore would be utilized during the next financial year, the spokesperson added.
While around 12,000 machines are being subsidized at 50% for individual farmers, another 5280 agro-machines are being provided to 514 farmer groups and 16655 agro-machines to 3547 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) at a subsidy of 80% to establish Farm Machinery Banks (FMBs) to be used as Custom Hiring Centres.
The equipment includes state-of-the-art machines, including Happy Seeder, Paddy Straw Chopper/Cutter, Mulcher, RMB Plough, Shrub Cutter, Zero Till Drill, Super Straw Management System on Combine Harvesters, Rotary Slasher and Rotavator, said the spokesperson.
The Chief Minister has asked the Agriculture department to ensure timely delivery of these machines to the farmers.
He has also directed the formulation of a comprehensive Information Education Communication plan to create awareness amongst farmers about the ill effects of paddy residue burning.
The awareness campaign should also include training of farmers and demonstration of equipment for In-Situ Crop Residue Management, the Chief Minister has told the department.
With a view to effectively implement the scheme to ensure zero burning of paddy straw in the state, the Chief Minister has instructed all the Deputy Commissioners to lead the campaign against stubble burning, which has been identified as a major cause of pollution in the northern part of the country, in a mission mode.>