Strive for zero stubble burning: Centre urges Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP

The Centre on Wednesday urged the state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi to “strive for achieving zero stubble burning” in the very near future.

This was conveyed to these states during a high-level review meeting chaired by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. The meeting was attended by officials of State Governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi, Officers of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). During the meeting, issues related to the actions taken/proposed to be taken by the State Governments for management of stubble burning during 2022 season were discussed.

Asking these states to take steps to check stubble burning, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured them of all “Central help” to achieve this “noble mission.” This is a kind of “curse” on these states, as they receive a lot of public ire due to negative media publicity, he said, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

As per the statement, Tomar highlighted that Rs 600 crore have already been provided to the states during this financial year and they have the unspent amount of Rs 300 Crore, which should be utilized properly.

Moreover, about two lakh machines have been made available to the States, the statement said.

“The Minister said, the Centre and the concerned States should jointly evolve a long-term planning and must undertake multi-pronged activities to achieve the target of Zero Stubble Burning within a specified time-frame,” the statement said.

Tomar asked the officials of the states to “strengthen and widen” the IEC activities to make aware the farmers that stubble burning leads to loss of soil fertility in the long run, like the overuse of urea.

“He urged the officials to make arrangements to take the farmers to the sites, where the Pusa Decomposer developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is being used for practical demonstrations,” the statement said.

“It has been informed that, the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is continuing the implementation of the Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’ during 2022-23 with an outlay of Rs. 700 Crores. So far, an amount of Rs. 240.00 crores, Rs. 191.53 crores, Rs. 154.29 crores and Rs. 14.18 crores have already been released to the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and ICAR, respectively as first installment,” the statement said.

“During the current year, provisions have also been incorporated to promote the use of bio-decomposer technology on large scale in these States,” it added.

The statement further said, “During the period from 2018-19 to 2021-22, the funds amounting to 2440.07 crores have been released (Haryana – Rs. 693.25 crores, Uttar Pradesh – Rs. 533.67 crores, NCT of Delhi – Rs. 4.52 Crores, ICAR and other Central Agencies – Rs. 61.01 crores, and the major share has gone to the State of Punjab i.e. Rs. 1147.62 Crores).”

“Out of these funds, during the last 4 years, the State Government of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi have established more than 38422 Custom Hiring Centres of crop residue management machinery to provide machines & equipment to the small and marginal farmers on rental basis (Punjab- 24201 Nos., Haryana- 6775 Nos and Uttar Pradesh – 7446 Nos). A total of more than 2.07 lakh crop residue management machines have been supplied to these established CHCs and to the individual farmers in these 4 States (Punjab- 89151 Nos., Haryana- 59107 Nos., Uttar Pradesh – 58708 Nos. and NCT of Delhi – 247 Nos) which also include more than 3243 Balers & Rakes,” it said.

“For effective control of paddy stubble burning during the ensuing season, the Hon’ble Minister directed that the States should chalk out a comprehensive action plan at micro level, establish a mechanism to ensure effective utilization of machines, promote use of bio-decomposer in a complimentary mode with the CRM machines, promote ex-situ utilization of straw by way of mapping demand from adjoining industries like biomass based power plants, bioethanol plants etc. and take up IEC activities for mass awareness among farmers through intensive campaigns in the electronic/print medias, social media as well as through Kisan Melas, publications, seminars, advisories with the involvement of all stakeholders in this sector,” it said.

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