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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

Stubble burning: Baler machine to bail out admn.

Rajeev Bhaskar, Hindustan Times  Nawanshahr, November 25, 2013
First Published: 20:39 IST(25/11/2013) | Last Updated: 20:42 IST(25/11/2013)

 Taking note that stubble burning was rampant despite invoking strict legal measures, the Nawanshahr administration looked for alternative and found one in baler machine, using which farmers can earn money for the stubble they used burn.
 
With the help of district administration, the farmers cooperative society of Begumpur on Monday became the proud owner of first baler machine. Though the market cost of the machine is `13 lakh, but the society got it for half the price after getting 50% subsidy from the Punjab Farmers Commission.

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“As stubble burning has emerged as a serious threat to environment and even strict legal provisions against it could not yield deserving results, an idea was mooted to rope in farmers' cooperative societies for buying baler machines, so that farmers could earn by selling baled stubble,” Nawanshahr deputy commissioner Anindita Mitra told Hindustan Times.

The DC said that the society would earn back the amount spent on the machine within 40 days of its working. “We have about one lakh acre of land under paddy cultivation and we aim to persuade more farmer societies to purchase such machines for next year,” she added.

During the demonstration of the machine, the DC said that this machine bales 18 to 25 acres of paddy straw in a day and one acre brings out 25 to 30 quintals of straw.

“These bales would fetch `130 to `150 per quintal when sold to any bio-mass plant,” she said, adding that the district administration would explore other options for marketing of the bales.

“As high cost of machine is a major hindrance, to overcome it, subsidy was worked out,” she said.

She further said that it would be the responsibility of district agricultural department and cooperative societies to bale the straw/stubble and transport it to the desired destination.

How the machine works?
Chief agricultural officer Bhajan Singh said that first of all the farmers would have to run reaper on the harvested field and afterwards rake, a small machine with baler machine, would line up the scattered straw/stubble and finally baler would bale.
Deputy director Jugraj Singh said he would offer his services to run the machine smoothly.

What's a baler?
A baler is a piece of farm machinery used to compress a cut and raked crop (such as hay <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay>,cotton <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton>, straw, or silage) into compact bales that are easy to handle, transport, and store. Several different types of balers are commonly used, each producing a different type of bales - rectangular or cylindrical, of various sizes, bound with twine, strapping, netting, or wire.

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