Punjab Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian, on Wednesday, said that Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann led Punjab Government has set a target to bring down the crop residue burning to 50 per cent in the upcoming season.
He was addressing the one-day state level workshop-cum-training on “space based technology for monitoring stubble burning under Agro-geoinformatics” organized by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), Ludhiana here at MGSIPA.
S. Gurmeet Singh Khudian said that pollution is a vast issue, and holding only farmers responsible for the same would not change anything on ground as they are also victims of uncontrolled pollution. All should come together and find a solution to save the environment for our future generations, said S. Khudian while adding that the hardworking farmers and laborers of the Punjab, who made the country self-dependent in food security, would contribute their maximum in this move.
He further said that Punjab Government has not been leaving any stone unturned to tackle the crop residue burning menace as around 23000 Crop Residue Management (CRM) machines are being provided to the state farmers on the subsidy during FY 2023-24. Due to the concerted efforts of the government, the stubble burning incidents have reduced to 36,623 in 2023 from 49,922 fire incidents in 2022, reflecting a positive change of 26 per cent. Earlier, this facility was running under 100% assistance from GoI but at present it is on sharing basis of 60:40 )Centre- State).
Meanwhile, Special Chief Secretary (Development) Mr. KAP Sinha said that the state government is mulling to launch the Crop Residue Management (CRM) campaign this year in advance to contain the fire incidents more effectively, besides encouraging the farmers to adopt the crop diversification to wean away them from two crops (wheat-paddy) cycle to address the problem of groundwater depletion.
He said, “Punjab is known for Agriculture that’s why the state is called a food bowl of the country. Our prestige attached with agriculture and Punjab will not let it go to any other state”, while adding that the capacity of In-situ and Ex-situ will also be increased in hot-spot areas, besides, involving cooperative societies to support small, marginal and SC farmers.
Director PRSC Dr. B. Pateriya highlighted the harmful effects of stubble burning on air, soil quality, as well as human health. He called for synergy among the Department of Agriculture, NGOs, academia, industry and farmers to tackle the menace of paddy straw burning.
Principal Scientist Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi Dr. Vinay Kumar Sehgal made a presentation on the Application of space technology in crop residue burning. Dr. RK Setia, Group Head, demonstrated the role of geospatial technology and its applications with special reference to Punjab. Dr. Hapinder Singh, Group Head, elaborated the process of monitoring satellite based crop residue burning in Punjab.
Chairman Punjab Pollution Control Board Prof. (Dr.) Adarsh Pal Vig, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka Ms Senu Duggal, Deputy Commissioner Ferozepur Mr. Rajesh Dhiman, Deputy Commissioner Bathinda Mr Showkat Ahmad Parray and other senior officials of civil and police administration also participated in the discussion and gave their feedback to control the stubble burning in coordination with all the stakeholders.