In a move aimed at mitigating the prevalent issue of paddy straw burning, the Punjab Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department announced its commitment to providing over 24,000 crop residue management (CRM) machines, inclusive of 5,000 Surface Seeders, to the state’s farmers at subsidised rates for the upcoming harvest season.
The initiative has garnered significant attention and interest from the farming community, with the department receiving a whopping 1.58 lakh applications for the CRM machinery subsidy. All sanction letters for eligible beneficiaries have been dispatched via the designated online portal, as reported by Punjab Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Gurmeet Singh Khudian.
This suite of machinery will include notable tools like the Super SMS, Happy Seeder, Paddy Straw Chopper, Mulcher, Smart Seeder, Zero Till Drill, and more. These are intended to assist in both In-situ and Ex-situ paddy residue management.
Reflecting on the positive impact of such interventions, Minister Khudian highlighted the 30% reduction in stubble burning cases in the 2022-23 period, attributing this progress to the deployment of CRM machines. Furthermore, an allocation of Rs 350 crores has been earmarked this year to further suppress crop residue burning.
For seamless and transparent execution, the application process for these subsidies was conducted online. This strategy not only ensured a corruption-free procedure but also simplified the process for the farmers.
Echoing the state’s commitment towards supporting small and marginal farmers, Khudian mentioned the state’s plans to establish custom hiring centers in every block, which would stock CRM machines. The state government is endorsing these centers by offering an 80% subsidy on CRM machine purchases, while individual farmers can avail a 50% subsidy.
Minister Khudian, emphasising the need for transparency, acknowledged the leadership of Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann in steering the state towards addressing the chronic challenge of stubble burning. In addition to these efforts, an Information Education and Communication campaign has been initiated to familiarise farmers with the latest technologies and practices for efficient crop residue management.