Seeking solutions to stubble burning: Tarn Taran farmers unhappy over ‘stubble bury’ scheme

The district administration has been providing daily wagers under the MGNREGA to dig up the compost pits; farmers say process time consuming, lack of machines leading to delay.

punjab Updated: Nov 25, 2017 14:12 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Tarn Taran
Tarn Taran farmers,farmers unhappy,stubble bury scheme
Farmers’ unions say the drive should have been initiated in advance.(HT File/Representative image)

In order to curb stubble burning, the districts of the state with the help of agriculture department had started a ‘stubble-burry’ scheme for small and marginal farmers. But the scheme seemed to have lost its relevance, especially in Tarn Taran, as the farmers here are unhappy because it takes seven to ten days to manage stubble in a pit.

Under the scheme, the farmers can remove paddy stubble and burry it in a pit either in their own agricultural land or wasteland. The district administration has been providing daily wagers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) to dig up the compost pits. Besides, they are also making job cards under the MGNREGA for small farmers who are getting compost pits dug up on their land.

The district farmers said, “The scheme is good but we are unhappy because the administration is not allowing us to hire JCB machines under the scheme. If we hire daily wagers for digging and managing stubble, it takes around ten days.”

“Under the ‘stubble-bury’ scheme, around 15 farmers of the district have already turned their stubble into manures.” — Chief agriculture officer (CAO) Tarn Taran Dr Partap Singh

“We are already too late to sow wheat, owing to the moisture in our fields. Also the time to sow wheat has already passed,” said Surjit Singh a farmer of Tarn Taran.

“If we will spend time to manage our paddy, then when will we sow our next crop, which is wheat,” he added.

“The scheme is connected to MGNREGA and the farmers can’t hire JCB machines,” chief agriculture officer (CAO) Tarn Taran Dr Partap Singh said.

“Around 40 farmers of the district will adopt this method of managing stubble. However, next year, we will achieve a target of more than 100,” CAO said.

Kisan Sangarsh Committee (KSC)’s Punjab president Satnam Singh Pannu said that the drive initiated by the district administration required mobilisation of resources. It should have been initiated in advance, besides spreading awareness among the farmers. “Most of the small farmers don’t even know about the scheme,” he said.

A farmer of Malia village, Avtar Singh, said that the only way to deal with paddy stubble was the crop diversification. “The government should ensure remunerative prices for crops other than the paddy,” he added.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 14:09 IST