‘Funds in; advisory group to tackle stubble burning in the works’
Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore added the farmers must be given options to stubble burningpunjab Updated: Apr 28, 2018 12:38 IST
ChandigarhSaying that the state government had received Rs 385 crore in the current fiscal, of Rs 665 crore that the Centre had sanctioned to check stubble burning over two years, Suresh Kumar, chief principal secretary, to the chief minister, said, a state-level advisory group was being constituted.
Addressing a workshop on stubble burning that Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore chaired, he said, “Funds are not a problem. We have got Rs 385 crore for current fiscal. We are constituting a state-level advisory group to design an action plan to check stubble burning. I urge the Punjab governor to be the patron.”
He added, “An action plan would be ready very soon. I hope there will be little burning of paddy stubble this year.” Over the past four years, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has been asking both the Punjab and the Haryana governments to stop the burning of stubble. The states have maintained that the quantity of stubble that needs to be disposed of is huge (22 million tonne, only in Punjab). The narrative is that farmers have no means to use methods other than burning.
Kumar also called upon agri-experts attending the workshop to work towards reduction of the silica content in straw and making it fit for animal consumption.
“Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh could be given the fodder at low prices, as they usually battle shortage. Progressive farmers must share their knowledge of paddy straw management with the younger lot,” he added. He added no extra financial burden will be put on farmers while encouraging them to adopt alternatives.
Give options to farmers: Badnore
Badnore added the farmers must be given options to stubble burning. “Incentives can be given to farmers, who have already adopted other alternatives,” he said, offering to visit each district, with officers concerned, to educate and motivate farmers to adopt sustainable solutions.
Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Nagra said more soil testing labs should be set up in the state.
Give differential bonus: PPCB
Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) chairman KS Pannu said a strategy of offering differing incentives to farmers, based on whether or not they burnt stubble, must be tried. “Providing machines and tools to farmers will not make a difference, if they are not motivated,” he said.
World Wildlife Fund, India, CEO Ravi Singh assured that his organisation will support farmers. Punjab State Farmers’ Commission chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor BS Dhillon were also present.