Stubble Burning

Punjab Govt appoints 8000 nodal officers, sets up call centre team to check stubble burning

Chandigarh: In a series of measures to check stubble burning in the ongoing Kharif season, the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab government has appointed 8000 Nodal Officers in the Paddy growing villages of the state, with 23500 more machines being given to farmers for in-sutu management of paddy straw.

The Chief Minister has also appealed to the farmers not to burn the crop residue, as it could aggravate Covid conditions apart from leading to pollution spread.  Seeking the support and cooperation of the farmers in preventing stubble burning amid the pandemic, he said that experts had warned it could have serious implications for the vulnerable people, already suffering from other lung and other diseases.

Captain Amarinder said while he had been repeatedly following up with the Prime Minister for compensation to the farmers for defraying the cost on management of paddy straw, the state was also taking various steps to educate the farmers about the problem. The state government has been seeking from the Centre Rs 100/quintal as compensation to enable the farmers to manage the paddy straw without burning it.

The nodal officers, who will be working in the villages till November 15, will work in close coordination with the staff of Cooperation, Revenue, Rural Development & Panchayats, Agriculture, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Departments, as well as the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the Guardians of Governance. Armed with a Super SMS system, these officers will also prepare lists of owners who have given their land on rent (theka) and then call each land owner on phone with the warning that a red entry shall be made in their land record if they fail to ensure that no paddy straw is burng.

The nodal officers will create awareness in villages through CRM machines, distribution of pamphlets/leaflets, announcements from Gurudwara or by other modes, personal interaction with village schools for organizing rallies and awareness lectures to students who can create further awareness among their parents and other farmers in their villages.

The Agriculture Department has also deputed a dedicated team at the Call Centre on Toll Free No. 1800-180-1551 for quick resolution of the queries of farmers about farm machinery for paddy straw management.

Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Anirudh Tiwari said that State Government was also taking appropriate legal and administrative measures, besides creating awareness among people, to curb the menace of paddy stubble burning in view of pandemic.

Notably, Paddy has been grown over 27 lac hectares of land in Punjab this year. This includes cultivation of Basmati on 7 lac hectares. Cumulatively, this is expected to yield paddy residue of 16.50 million tons .