With paddy harvesting picking up momentum in Punjab, the State government has asked its employees to ensure that crop residue is not burnt in the fields owned or cultivated by them in an attempt to curb the menace of stubble burning.
K.S. Pannu, Secretary (Agriculture and Farmer Welfare), said that instructions have been issued to the staff of different departments, boards, corporations and cooperative societies, asking them not to burn crop residue wherever they were growing paddy.
The government agency PUNGRAIN has so far procured 39% of the total paddy that has arrived in various mandis across the State. Around 3,26,839 metric tonnes of paddy has been procured in Punjab till October 9, out of which PUNGRAIN has procured 1,27,575 metric tonnes.
Farmers of Punjab will face the challenge of managing nearly 20 million tonnes of paddy straw once again this season, as per government data. Paddy has been sown in nearly 29.20 lakh hectares.
Mr. Pannu said in case any employee fails to comply with these directions, disciplinary action as per service rules would be initiated against them.
“Employees had also been directed to dissuade others from indulging in this hazardous practice. The employees have been mandated to bring the matter to the notice of the authorities concerned, in case there is any burning of crop residue ,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a bonus of ₹100 per quintal on paddy, in addition to Minimum Support Price, as a measure to compensate the farmers for the additional burden of managing paddy residue.