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Rs 878 crore action plan to check stubble burning in Punjab: Chief Secretary

Chandigarh, The Punjab government has come out with an action plan worth Rs 878 crore to free the agrarian state of the stubble burning menace, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said on Friday.

She said the first installment of Rs 235 crore has already been sanctioned. Besides, 11 biomass power projects of 97.5 megawatt capacity have been set up, she said.

Mahajan shared the initiatives taken by the state on the stubble management front with the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) on Friday.

The meeting was held to deliberate on the measures to prevent and control stubble burning in Punjab, a state government statement said.

CAQM chairman M M Kutty appreciated the Punjab government for preparing the action plan and stressed the need for effective monitoring and enforcement along with a programme to reduce the generation of paddy straw.

Mahajan apprised the Commission that Punjab was taking several initiatives and was working proactively to control the practice of paddy residue burning.

In this regard, more than 75,000 specialised equipment/machines have been provided to the farmers, she said.

The official said the state government has also proposed to provide 25,000 more such machines during 2021-22 to cover peak demand, for which applications have been invited from farmers, groups of farmers and cooperative societies.

While outlining the steps taken by the state, the chief secretary stressed the need to compensate the farmers for the additional costs incurred by them for management of paddy straw.

She also emphasised that considering the difficult times caused by the Covid pandemic, the Commission should recommend to the Union government to announce suitable compensation to the farmers for adopting environment-friendly practices of stubble management and motivate them not to indulge in stubble burning.