Punjab: Special task force to check stubble burning in 10 districts
The Punjab government will deploy a special task force in 10 red-category districts, each of which witnessed over 4,000 stubble burning incidents during the previous paddy harvesting season, for strict enforcement and regulatory measures in the upcoming season.
Nodal officers will also be appointed at village, cluster, tehsil and district levels to keep air pollution in check for containing the spread of respiratory diseases in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The red-category districts are Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Moga, Muktsar, Patiala, Mansa, Tarn Taran, Barnala and Ludhiana.
Chairing a high-level meeting to review the preparedness and steps taken to curb farm fires in the state, chief secretary Vini Mahajan asked the animal husbandry department to explore the modalities for using paddy straw as fodder for animals kept at gaushalas.
Deputy commissioners were also directed to make elaborate arrangements for the storage of paddy straw. The chief secretary was apprised that 8,000 village-level nodal officers were being appointed for the current paddy season.
Mobile app, WhatsApp call centre for reporting
A mobile app has been developed to provide role-based login (village, cluster, subdivision and district levels) to various officials for end-to-end reporting and action taken for each fire incident this season. It will be made operational by September 15.
Similarly, a WhatsApp call centre will also be made operational by the Punjab Pollution Control Board by September 15 for receiving complaints and information on stubble burning incidents.
Advanced machinery under the promotion of agricultural mechanisation for in-situ management of crop residue and submission on agricultural mechanisation has also been sanctioned, and so far 76,626 machines were available in the state. The additional chief secretary, development, said online registrations and empanelment of manufacturers for 2021-22 was being provided, and so far 307 have been listed with the state and 156 empanelled on the portal.