PUNJAB CM AGAIN WRITES TO PM FOR BONUS

PUNJAB CM AGAIN WRITES TO PM FOR BONUS TO INCENTIVIZE FARMERS TO GIVE UP STUBBLE BURNING

New Delhi, September 18

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has reiterated his demand for bonus on paddy procurement from the central government to incentivize farmers not to burn paddy straw.

As part of his continuing efforts to eliminate stubble burning, which causes large-scale air pollution not only in Punjab but across the whole of north India, the Chief Minister has written another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking bonus incentive for farmers to dissuade them from the harmful practice of burning paddy straw.

Citing his earlier letter of July, the Chief Minister has once again requested the prime minister for a bonus of Rs.100/- per quintal over and above the MSP for paddy to compensate the farmers for the additional financial burden necessitated for proper disposal of the paddy straw. He urged the prime minister to direct the concerned ministry in the Government of India to announce such bonus, to be paid only to those farmers who manage the paddy residue/ stubble without burning.

In his latest letter, Captain Amarinder has pointed out that the farmers resort to burning of paddy straw, the quantity of which is estimated to be 20 million tonnes every cropping season, because of the short span of time available to them to prepare the land for sowing the next wheat crop. They neither have the financial resources nor the requisite manpower to manage such a huge stock of paddy in about the three weeks they get for sowing of next crop, he added.

The Chief Minister further cited the observations and judgements of the National Green Tribunal in the matter, pointing out that the Tribunal had directed the Government of Punjab to ensure that no paddy straw is burnt by the farmers. It has also directed that the farmers who burn paddy straw should be penalized.

The state, said the Chief Minister, had initiated a number of measures to check stubble burning. These include subsidy on sale of agriculture machinery for crop residue management, creation of awareness amongst the farmers, monitoring of straw burning through Remote Sensing Satellites and the field functionaries. However, he said, it was neither proper nor fair to penalize the farmers. Further, even use of agriculture machinery supplied on subsidy puts an additional financial burden of Rs.3000/- per acre on the farmers for the paddy straw management, he added.

The Chief Minister also stressed that diversification away from paddy could make a major contribution in minimizing the problem of straw burning. For this purpose, the permission to convert maize wholegrain into Ethanol can contribute significantly in achieving the desired results by ensuring a better price realization for maize for farmers in the market, he said, requesting the prime minister for an early favourable decision.