Ensure farmers get easy access to stubble-removal machines: EPCA to Punjab, Haryana

EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal on told top officials of Punjab and Haryana that with the number of Covid-19 cases rising across the country, controlling early instances of farm fires will become more important this year.
A farmer burning paddy stubble at village Asarpur near Patiala.(Bharat Bhushan / Hindustan Times)
A farmer burning paddy stubble at village Asarpur near Patiala.(Bharat Bhushan / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 01, 2020 07:29 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Wednesday asked the chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana to ensure that small and marginal farmers in their states get easy access to stubble-removal machines at affordable rates so that cases of crop residue burning can be controlled in the upcoming winter season.

EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal on Wednesday said in his letters to the top officials of Punjab and Haryana that with the number of Covid-19 cases rising across the country, controlling early instances of farm fires will become more important this year because if unchecked, these could worsen problems for people with co-morbidities.

The Punjab government had on August 14 directed that crop residue management machines be provided at a subsidy of 80% to farmers across the state, and that these should be made available to small and marginal farmers on “priority”. The government said the farmers will be charged only operational cost and no rental for the machines. The operational cost includes power charges and operator wages but not the cost of capital.

“The rate of rental, which is being waived of, is not apparent; the cost of operation is not laid down. We would urge you to ensure this is done so that small and marginal farmers have access (to the machines) at affordable/free cost,” Lal said in his letter to Vini Mahajan, chief secretary of Punjab.

A senior Haryana government official said that the office of the chief secretary will respond to the letter in a few days after scanning its contents. The office of Punjab chief secretary did not comment.

On similar lines, the Haryana government had on August 24 directed that small and marginal farmers would be given preference in the use of crop residue management machines in panchayat-run custom hiring centres, by providing 70% reservation for them. Lal in his letter to Haryana chief secretary Keshni Anand Arora, wrote, “We would urge you there should be a clear directive on the rate/free use of machines to small and marginal farmers. The machines have been provided at 80-100% subsidy to panchayat-run CHCs to ensure that farmers, who cannot afford to purchase them, have access.”

He asked both governments to ensure these schemes are widely publicised among farmers.

Meanwhile, the EPCA also submitted a report before the Supreme Court on implementation of schemes announced by state and central governments in Punjab and Haryana to control stubble burning this year.

Citing data from the union ministry’s air quality monitoring agency, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting snd Research, the EPC report said that while stubble burning is not the only cause of pollution in Delhi, “there is no doubt that the transportation of pollutants from burning fields is the tipping point that makes winter’s already unhealthy air quality a public health emergency”.

This year, farmers have already begun burning crop residue in parts of Punjab and Haryana, suggesting an early start to a practice that aggravates winter pollution. Every year these farm fires usually begin in full swing by mid-October.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A chocolate bar infested with worms. (Source: The Independent) (Picture for Representation)

    Beyond our reach: Bengaluru court on Rs50 lakh demand for worms in chocolate bar

    Six years after a Bengaluru man approached a consumer court - seeking 50 lakh as compensation after finding worms in a chocolate bar purchased from a local a resident of Bengaluru's HSR Layout, storMukesh Kumar Kedia,- he has been directed to the state consumer forum. In October 2016, a resident of Bengaluru's HSR Layout, Mukesh Kumar Kedia, bought two bars of chocolate - Cadbury's Fruit and Nut - for his niece for 89.

  • Police said the two accused revealed that they had fixed a deal with the girl’s family in Khagria district of Bihar on the pretext of her marriage and brought her around six months ago. (Pic for representation)

    Father-son duo’s arrest in Bahraich unearths inter-state human trafficking racket

    LUCKNOW The arrest of a father-son duo in Bahraich on Tuesday unearthed an inter-state racket involved in trafficking minor girls and women from remote areas of Bihar on the pretext of marriage and employment, said police here on Wednesday. One Dhani Ram Pandit, 48, and his son Ankush, 25, residents of Rampur Dibiyapur village in Bahraich, were arrested for holding a 15-year-old girl from Bihar hostage.

  • Police said the woman is under police protection because her brother is still on the run. (Representational Image)

    Indore: Man allegedly killed by family of woman in hate crime

    In an alleged hate crime, a man was beaten up brutally before being strangulated to death in Madhya Pradesh's Indore district by the parents and brother of a a resident of Khudail in Indore district, 21, girl Vinod Bheel, who used to work as a farm labourer was allegedly in a relationship with, said police said on Wednesday. The deceased was identified as a resident of Khudail in Indore district, 21, Vinod Bheel, who used to work as a farm labourer. Vinod's father Shyam filed a police complaint.

  • Taking the matter up for hearing again on May 13, the SC provided relief to the project-affected people and directed that the compensation amount be disbursed to all beneficiaries (HT File)

    Frame policy within 3 months to compensate fisherfolk: SC tells state

    Mumbai The Supreme Court instructed the Maharashtra government on May 13 to expedite framing of a policy to compensate fisherfolk affected by state-funded development projects, and finalise the policy within a period of three months. The apex court was hearing an appeal by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, challenging the disbursement of 10 crore compensation to fisherfolk affected by the Thane Creek Bridge-III project.

  • The HC has directed the Union government to consider conversion of PU, Chandigarh, into a central university.

    PU row: Safeguard Punjab’s interests, SGPC tells state govt

    Days after the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the Union government to consider conversion of Panjab University, Chandigarh, into a central varsity, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on Wednesday asked the Punjab government to make serious efforts to stop any such move and protect its existing status.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 25, 2022