Punjab targeting 90% reduction in stubble burning

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Chandigarh, Dec 3 (IANS) Authorities in Punjab are targeting a 90 percent reduction in stubble burning cases next year, a senior official said here on Monday.

“Stubble burning has reduced by as much as 50 per cent this year in 14 of 22 districts in Punjab, mainly in Majha and Doaba (north and central Punjab),” K.S. Pannu, Secretary- Agriculture, Punjab, said here.

Addressing a conference on ‘Stubble Burning: Viable and Sustainable Solutions’ as part of CII Agro Tech India 2018, Pannu added: “The issue would be solved 90 per cent next year.”

“In Punjab, we have used Super Straw Management (SMS). The system needs to be attached to a combine harvester. Farmers were offered 50 per cent subsidy for using this system and the SMS is now in use in 5,000 of 7,500 combine harvesters in the state,” Pannu said.

He added that the Punjab government worked hard to create awareness among farmers, using social media as well as through one-on-one interactions.

Pannu said that a German organisation has evinced interest in making Bio-CNG from straw in Punjab.

“From November 15 this year, the state has already started a survey of farmers to know about the reason for not adopting the machines. Based on the response, the state government will devise its strategy for the next year,” he added. He said that with lesser paddy residue burning this year, the wheat productivity could go up next year in Punjab.

“With 4 million tonnes of paddy residue in the soil, wheat productivity is bound to increase next year. Pesticide use should also drop by around 30 per cent,” Pannu said.

The four-day Agro-Tech started on December 1 and will end on Tuesday. Around 50,000 farmers from the region visit the agriculture and technology biennial fair.



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