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Pb Devising Multi-pronged Policy To Tackle Paddy Stubble | Chandigarh News – Times of India

CHANDIGARH: Ahead of the paddy harvest, Punjab is devising a multi-pronged policy to deal with the menace of stubble burning – from penal action against repeat offenders to special treatment at government offices to farmers who opt for a healthy way to dispose of the crop residue.
To mitigate the impact of farm fires on the environment, the focus will be on the hot spots, comprising villages where more than 75% area has been burnt since the last three years as per the stubble burning data.
Himanshu Aggarwal, deputy commissioner, Gurdaspur said his district had taken the initiative to honour farmers with ‘Vatavaran de Rakhe’ certificates if they abstained from farm fires.
The awardees would get preferential treatment such as jumping the queue at the government offices in the district. “For panchayats too, if zero stubble burning incidents are recorded, the developmental works of that area will be expedited and grants will be given on priority,” he said.
Gurdaspur district plans to manage 2.40 lakh metric tonnes of paddy straw ex situ through tie-ups with companies to collect crop residue from the fields, besides providing 69 new balers to farmers.
In Patiala, deputy commissioner Sakshi Sawhney said microplanning to manage around 14 lakh MT of stubble had been done with 65 critical villages identified for intensive action. While 2.5 lakh MT of stubble will be managed ex situ, the rest will be handled through in situ steps, she said.
“Cognisant of the fact that the farmers had re-cultivated paddy and that too after a delay due to floods, especially in Patran, Doodhan and Ghanaur, efforts are on to provide smart seeders to cooperative societies and panchayats for in situ management of straw,” said the DC.
“Equipment to tackle straw will be provided through a chat bot. We have already micro mapped individual farmers to make machinery available to them. Tie ups with brick kilns, baler association and industry are in place to help with post straw management measures. Also, 225 nodal officers have been appointed and each village will have a contact person for prevention of stubble burning. Over 32 acres of land has been identified for storage of stubble, in addition to what is available with industries and baler association,” she added.
Even though the farmers indulging in farm fires are liable to face challans, the authorities often go slow on taking penal action despite getting reports of stubble burning from its field staff.
“The focus will be on motivating farmers not to burn paddy straw. However, action is usually taken in case of repeat offenders who violate the ban despite having the option to use crop residue management (CRM) equipment in the village,” said another deputy commissioner.
Tie-ups with industry
The district authorities have also tied up with private players to collect paddy straw from fields to turn it into ethanol or pellets. Dalip, manager of a company roped in for ex situ disposal of paddy this season, said around 70,000 tonnes of straw would be turned into fuel at a plant in Dinanagar.
Dr Jaswinder Kumar, agriculture officer at Jalandhar, said this season, companies had evinced interest to help the state government with paddy straw management and an ex situ management plan had been finalised for the district.
Kirpal Singh Dhillon, chief agriculture officer, Gurdaspur, said cluster coordinators and nodal officers had been appointed to keep a watch on hot spots to encourage farmers to give up stubble burning.In Patiala, the district authorities have tied up with NGOs, CII foundation and will also rope in Thapar University and Punjabi University for handholding of farmers and ensuring seamless access to available machinery.

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