23200 CRMs provided to farmers to check stubble burning: Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal

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Chandigarh: Elaborating the concrete efforts initiated by the Agriculture Department to reduce the incidents of stubble burning, the Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal on Sunday said that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government has made available more than 23200 Crop Residue Management (CRM) machines to the farmers, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Panchayats, Primary Agricultural Societies (PACS) in the state under the Scheme ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue’ during the current season. He said that Concrete efforts of the agriculture department have resulted in a 30 percent decrease in stubble burning.

Revealing further the Agriculture Minister said that under this scheme till now 113622 machines have been provided. He said that the department has also offered subsidy @50% and 80% to individual farmers and custom hiring centres, respectively, under this scheme. He said that the applications for the subsidy were called through an online portal to ease the procedure for availing this subsidy.

Highlighting the consistent efforts being made to provide CRM machinery to small and marginal farmers, Mr. Dhaliwal said that the Department has been trying to establish Custom Hiring Centers at each block wherein CRM machines would be available, especially for small and marginal farmers. He said that a sum of Rs 7.4 crores had been made available to the districts for this. The Department has also promoted the I-Khet App for bookings of the CRM machines, he added.

Stressing on the need for information dissemination, the minister said that the department has carried out various Information, Education, and Communication activities through village-level camps, wall paintings, banners and publicity vans to motivate the farmers besides educating them about residue management technology. More than 3000 village level camps were organized in the state, said Dhaliwal while adding that the Department has also involved ASHA workers in the 9 hotspots districts in motivating the farmers and their families.

It is worth mentioning here that the increased availability of in-situ and ex-situ crop residue management equipment has helped in reducing the number of fire incidents in the State. During the paddy harvesting season 2022, the number of fire incidents in the State has reduced to 49922 from 71159 in the paddy harvesting season 2021, registering a decrease of 29.84 percent.