Punjab’s readiness to tackle stubble burning will be put to test from October 10

Updated on Oct 06, 2018 10:07 AM IST

30% of Punjab’s fields would be harvested in districts like Bathinda and Mansa from October 10; over 10 lakh tonne of stubble will have to be managed.

At this time, 30% of the state’s paddy fields will be harvested, delayed due to rain, all more or less in sync.(HT Photo)
At this time, 30% of the state’s paddy fields will be harvested, delayed due to rain, all more or less in sync.(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Bathinda | By, Bathinda

Even as officially, paddy procurement in the state began on October 1, the crop’s harvest in Malwa is scheduled to pick up from October 10 (Wednesday).

At this time, 30% of the state’s paddy fields will be harvested, delayed due to rain, all more or less in sync.

The result, the state’s preparedness to tackle the problem of stubble burning would be put to test. Such ‘synchronised’ harvesting will mean that 10 lakh tonne of stubble would need to be managed, or illegally burnt, as the case may be, within a short span of time. “Not even 2% of the harvesting has taken place, as harvesting in Bathinda and Mansa will begin on October 10, when 30% of the crop will start arriving in the mandis within two-three days,” said Bathinda district chief agriculture officer (CAO) Gurditta Singh.

Agriculture officials in Muktsar, Faridkot and Moga have also confirmed that the harvest would pick up in their regions after October 10.

“Recent rain has added extra moisture to the crop and this is what has primarily delayed its ripening by a week,” Muktsar CAO Baljinder Brar said.

Taking stock of preparation

As the administration gets a week’s breather, machines like happy seeders, bailers, zero-till drills, rotabits, MB ploughs and chopper-cum-shedders have been in high demand.

To manage 7-8 lakh tonne of stubble that Bathinda will generate, 1,000-odd such implements would be needed.

Officials of the agriculture and cooperation department have been on their toes to meet the demand for the huge subsidies that the state is offering. Cooperative societies and self-help groups are eligible for 80% subsidy for mechanised management of stubble. Individual farmers can get 50% in subsidy.

Bathinda deputy registrar, cooperation, Darshan Lal has counted 327 heavy machines being ordered for cooperative societies alone (eligible for 80% subsidy). “Each of these societies have deposited their 20% share of orders for these machines and orders are in place for timely delivery soon,” he said.

In addition, 25 self-help groups have also deposited 10 lakh each as a 20% cost of the machinery that they have been supplied on 80% subsidy, he said.

The Muktsar CAO added that 62 happy seeders had been delivered of 240 orders placed for this machine that costs 1.6 lakh each.

“Happy seeder is the most in demand besides the zero-till drills,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A special correspondent, Prabhjit Singh is the bureau chief at Bathinda. He specialises in investigative stories, with rural reporting being his passion.

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