Chandigarh: Elaborating on the Agriculture Department’s concrete efforts to reduce stubble burning, Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said on Sunday that the Punjab Government, led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, has made available more than 23200 Crop Residue Management (CRM) machines to farmers, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Panchayats, and Primary Agricultural Societies (PACS) in the state under the Scheme ‘Promotion of Agricultural Machinery’. He claimed that the agriculture department’s concrete efforts had resulted in a 30% reduction in stubble burning.
The Agriculture Minister additionally disclosed that 113622 machines had been distributed under this program to date. According to him, the department has also made subsidies under this program available to individual farmers at a rate of 50% and custom employment centers at a rate of 80%, respectively. According to him, an internet platform was used to collect applications for the subsidy in order to make the process of receiving it easier.
The Department has been working to build Custom Hiring Centers at each block where CRM machines will be available, especially for small and marginal farmers, Mr. Dhaliwal added, highlighting the ongoing efforts being made to give CRM machinery to small and marginal farmers. He claimed that the districts have been given access to Rs 7.4 crores for this.
The Department has also promoted the I-Khet App for bookings of the CRM machines, he added.
The minister emphasized the importance of information sharing and stated that the department has conducted different IEC programs through village-level camps, wall murals, banners, and advertising vans to inspire farmers and teach them about residue management techniques. According to Dhaliwal, the state has conducted more than 3000 village-level camps, and the Department has also enlisted the help of ASHA workers in the nine hotspot districts to encourage farmers and their families.
The greater accessibility of in-situ and ex-situ agricultural residue management tools has contributed to a decrease in the number of fire events in the State, it is important to note at this point. There were 49922 fewer fire incidents in the State during the paddy harvesting season of 2022 than there were 71159 during the paddy harvesting season of 2021, a decrease of 29.84 percent.