The Punjab government has banned the harvesting of wheat crop with combines during night (from 7pm to 10am). The orders will remain in force till May 29.
Director of the state agriculture department Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu said the harvesting had been banned during the night to ensure that the produce remained clean and dry as per the procurement norms. He said the crop absorbed moisture during the night due to dew and the harvesting would adversely affect the purchase of grains by the procurement agencies.
Dr Sandhu said the agriculture department had chalked out a plan to promote ultramodern straw choppers in the state to tackle the problem of stubble burning. He said the farmers would get straw choppers at subsidised rates.
"The government has also announced an incentive of `1 crore to a district and `1 lakh to a village which are free from stubble burning," he said. Dr Sandhu said the stubble burning was not only a health hazard but also lowers the soil fertility.
He said only resorting to punitive measures to end stubble burning would not yield anything and it would bring desired results only if the people were motivated to renounce this anti-environment and pollution-causing phenomena.
Agricultural scientists, environmentalists and farmers must join hands to curb the unhealthy practice with multi-dimensional problems affecting the human health, besides creating ecological imbalance. He urged the farmers not to join the mad race of sowing one crop after another just to reap maximum profits.