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Punjab government gears up to tackle stubble-burning, appoints 8,500 Nodal Officers across state

A file photo of stubble-burning. Photo: Facebook

Chandigarh, Sep 19 (MNN) The Punjab government said on Sunday that 8,500 Nodal Officers had been appointed in all paddy-growing villages identified as hotspots of stubble-burning across the state to curb the practice during harvesting season.

The Nodal Officers have been deputed for each affected village to create awareness among paddy farmers to refrain from stubble-burning, besides keeping a strict vigil on post-harvest operations.

Staff of various departments at the district level, including Punjab Pollution Control Board, Cooperation, Revenue, Rural Development and Panchayats, Agriculture, Horticulture and Soil Conservation have been appointed as Nodal Officers to augment the efforts to stamp out the unhealthy practice of stubble-burning across the state.

These Nodal Officers have been mandated to hold meetings with farmers, arrange crop residue management machines, distribute pamphlets/leaflets etc in villages, besides take measures to disseminate information to educate villagers against harmful effects on environment and health due to stubble-burning.

Punjab Pollution Control Board Member-Secretary Krunesh Garg said that necessary directions had been issued to Deputy Commissioners concerned to give special attention to hotspot villages as each of such villages had witnessed more than 25 fire incidents during the last season.

Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Tarn Taran, Moga and Mansa districts were identified as hotspot districts wherein more than 4,000 fire incidents each due to stubble-burning were reported in the past.

Garg said that control rooms had been set up in all districts to monitor stubble-burning incidents, upload data from mobile apps to dashboard and preparation and submission of action-taken reports to different quarters.

The state has embarked on a programme for management of paddy straw by farmers. As many as 76,626 subsidised agro-machines/equipment have been supplied to farmers, cooperative societies, panchayats and custom hiring centres under crop residue management scheme in the last three years.

During this year, the Punjab Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department has sanctioned more than 31,000 machines against applications received from farmers, PACSs, panchayats and CHCs for purchasing agri-machinery on 50 per cent to 80 per cent subsidy for in-situ and ex-situ management of paddy residue.

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