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40 % of paddy stubble to be managed by machines in Punjab

As the harvest season is close at hand, the central as well as state governments are working to support agricultural mechanization for in-situ management of crop remains in Punjab. And for the first time, 40 percent of the 74 lakh acres land that comes under paddy cultivation will have machines taking out the stubble.

As per reports, Centre government in March approved a Rs 1,151-crore plan to endorse stubble management through cutting and equally spreading the straw on field or incorporating it into the soil, as opposed to burning. Of the total amount, to be spent in the coming season, Rs 695 crore was allocated for Punjab and remaining amount was for Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

Punjab additional chief secretary, development Vishavjeet Khanna said “The options we are giving farmers were not available previously. They will have a positive impact in reducing pollution and use of fertilizers. In the long run, they will add to the income of farmers as we expect the yield to increase considerably”

A huge part of the amount approved to deal with stubble burning is being spent on machines to farmers at subsidized rates. This year, Rs 269 crore has being spent on subsidized Happy Seeder machines, reversible mould board (RMB) ploughs, paddy straw choppers,  zero till drills, rotary slasher machines and rotavators. These machines will cover up two-fifths of the total area under paddy cultivation.

Centre government has also made suppliers’ list who will supply machines on subsidy. Khanna further said, the drill to supply machines will be done before the harvesting begins.

Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) leader Bhupinder Singh Mann said “There will be a visible change this harvest season. The Centre should also set up industries that use the stubble to produce power, make cardboards and produce fodder. Machines should help farmers get added income and shouldn’t end up as an additional burden with maintenance costs”.  

Meanwhile, president of another BKU faction, Balbir Singh Rajewal told, he met a few farmers in Punjab who claim that the subsidized machines’ costs are higher than those available in open market. He explained “A Happy Seeder machine can be purchased from Rs 85,000 - Rs 90,000, while under the subsidy scheme, its cost is Rs 1.3 lakh -Rs 1.35 lakh. Punjab agriculture secretary KS Pannu refuting the allegation said “Some people have started a campaign that a super SMS is available on subsidy for Rs 1.12 lakh, while the cost in the market is Rs 65,000. Such machines are available for Rs 35,000 also but they are not as per government specifications. I suggest farmers buy machines that are sold by authorized dealers.”



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