Custom Hiring Centres fail to put a check on farm fires in Haryana

As per the data provided by the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), the state has reported 27% rise in farm fires this year.
(Representative image)
(Representative image)
Updated on Nov 02, 2020 09:17 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Karnal | ByNeeraj Mohan, Karnal

There has been no respite from stubble burning in Haryana even as the state government has spent a whopping 1,300 crore to set up Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) to provide machinery at subsidised rates and help farmers manage paddy straw.

As per the data provided by the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), the state has reported 27% rise in farm fires this year. The state registered 5,584 Active Fire Locations (AFLs) till October 31 this year against 4,280 AFLs as compared to last year. More than 80% farm fires have been reported from six districts—Kaithal, which tops the list with 1,027 incidents followed by Karnal 920, Kurukshetra 806, Ambala 729, Fatehabad 605 and Jind 403.

As per the official data, 13,236 machines were provided on 80% subsidy to farmers in the state. Last year too, the government had spent huge amounts on the subsidised machines for management of crop waste. A subsidy of around 329 crore was provided to set up 1,320 custom hiring centres (CHCs) for in-situ and ex-situ crop waste management the previous year.

Most CHCs were set up by big farmers as marginal farmers cannot afford these machines. The owners of CHCs, who had purchased these implements at 80% subsidy, were charging rent from all farmers.

Farmers have demanded that the government should ensure that these machines, purchased by the CHCs, are provided to small and marginal farmers as well so that they can be used to manage crop waste and avoid stubble burning.

Jagminder Nain, joint director (agriculture engineering) at Haryana agriculture department said, “The equipments provided by the government for management of crop waste are very helpful and farmers are reaping benefits from these machines. As per the HARSAC data, the AFLs in the state are more than last year. However, as per our data, the area under stubble burning has decreased as compared to last year.”

Karam Chand, deputy director agriculture department, said, “Around 50% Active Fire Locations shown by HARSAC are not found on the ground. Out of 974 locations provided by the HARSAC, 447 farm fires were not found during physical verification.” He said this has led to a confusion on the AFLs and actual cases of stubble burning.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021