Burning of crop residue in the states like Punjab & Haryana is taking heavy toll on lives of people in the entire North India. Apart from Punjab and Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also contribute in increasing environmental pollution levels. In view of rising health hazard and proper crop residue management the Union Agriculture Ministry recently issued an advisory to the state governments to create awareness among the farmers about the harmful effect of straw burning.
The advisory says, “ The states need facilitate farmers residue management machines and equipment such as Zero Till Seed Drill, Happy Seeder, Straw Baler, Rotavator, Paddy Straw Chopper/ Mulcher, Gyro Rake, Straw Reaper, Shredder, etc., to through Custom Hiring Centres or village level Farm Machinery Banks.”
The State Governments have also been directed that Rs 4000 per Hectare shall be used from the funds available for demonstration of machines under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization for demonstration of straw management machinery at farmers’ fields.
For crop residue management, under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization, the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare have allocated funds to the four states.
National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi Government and these four northern states to take strict measures to deal with this serious biennial threat.
Among these four states, Punjab and Haryana has adopted different approach towards crop residue management. Punjab was allocated Rs 49.08 crore and Rs 48.50 crore during 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively to deal with the issue. The state, however, did not utilise any of the amounts. A senior agriculture department official admitted that Punjab has not been able to utilise the funds so far as the State government is yet to give the green signal. However, farmers have been informed of the subsidies available to them and many of them have already purchased those machines, he said.
According to him, Punjab has constituted a corpus of ₹165 crore for the purpose with the Centre contributing 60 per cent of the funds. During the last two years, the centre has allocated a total of ₹97.50 crore.
On the other hand, the BJP-ruled Haryana utilised Rs 39 crore out of the Rs 45 crore allocated for the same in 2017-2018. Likewise Rajasthan and UP too used the allocations for the purpose they had been released.
Haryana agriculture minister OP Dhankar said that the state government was aware of the crop residue burning issue and his department has submitted a Rs 1,601.57 crore plan to the Centre for procuring required machinery for the management of stubble. Haryana aims to cover over 18,000 hectares for a demonstration of crop residue management, covering 15 major paddy-growing districts for practical knowledge of the farmers.
Under fire from the National Green Tribunal for not doing enough to tackle the air pollution menace in North India, the Ministry announced that it has so far released a total of ₹200 crore to the States in the region to take measures to deal with crop residue burning.
The Centre’s Allocation to States for Crop Residue Management
Allocation of Funds (In Crore)
Funds Utilised (In Crore)