The Punjab government has provided over 23,200 crop residue management (CRM) machines to farmers, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), panchayats, and primary agricultural societies which has led to a 30 per cent decrease in stubble burning incidents last year, Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said on Sunday.
He said the CRM have been provided under the Promotion of Agricultural Mechanisation for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue scheme.
Dhaliwal said under this scheme, till now, 113,622 machines have been provided. The department has also offered a subsidy of 50 and 80 per cent to individual farmers and custom hiring centres, respectively, under this scheme. The applications for the subsidy were called through an online portal to ease the procedure for availing this subsidy.
Highlighting the efforts being made to provide CRM machinery to small and marginal farmers, he said the department has been trying to establish custom hiring centres at each block wherein the machines would be available. A sum of Rs 7.4 crore has 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 the department has carried out various information, education, and communication activities to motivate the farmers, besides educating them about residue management technology.
More than 3,000 village-level camps were organized in the state, said Dhaliwal while adding the department has also involved ASHA workers in the nine hotspots districts in motivating the farmers and their families.
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, he said.
During the paddy harvesting season of 2022, the number of fire incidents has reduced to 49,922 from 71,159 in 2021, registering a decrease of 29.84 per cent.