Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, September 20
In what appears to be the beginning of a sustained campaign against the age-old menace of stubble burning, at least one-third of the total village panchayats in Ludhiana district have taken pledge against the menace, the administration has confirmed.
Of the total 367 primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACSs), which represent all 968 villages in the state’s largest district in terms of area and population, 110 have already adopted resolutions not to let anyone in their respective villages burn the crop residue, the officials have said.
The development assumes significance as Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, had recently ordered zero tolerance towards stubble burning during the upcoming paddy harvesting season.
Modalities are being explored for using paddy straw as a fodder for animals kept in gaushalas. Deputy Commissioners have been asked to make elaborate arrangements for paddy straw storage. A mobile app for both android and IOS platforms has been developed to provide role-based login to various officials for end-to-end reporting and sharing action taken for each fire incident this season. —Vini Mahajan, Chief Secretary
Besides ordering deployment of special task force in 10 red category districts, including Ludhiana, where over 4,000 incidents of stubble burning were reported during the previous paddy season, for strict enforcement and regulatory measures, the Chief Secretary had also sought appointment of nodal officers at village, cluster, tehsil, and district levels to keep the air pollution under check for containing the spread of respiratory diseases in view of the Covid pandemic in the agrarian state.
On the directions of the Chief Secretary, training is being imparted to all field functionaries at the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) in Ludhiana, which is following standardised protocol adopted by the ISRO for reporting farm fires and for harmonised dissemination of information.
Sharing details of the measures taken in this regard, Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma told The Tribune here on Monday that while 110 primary agriculture cooperative societies have already come forward to take a pledge, the remaining 267 were also in the process of adopting similar resolutions to ban stubble burning in their respective jurisdictions.
“Almost all villagers and agriculturists are members of these societies, which are mainly involved in distribution of fertilisers, and are in turn directly in touch with each and every farmer in villages under them,” said the DC, while adding that the district administration has pulled out all the stops to ensure no burning of crop residue in the district during this paddy season.
Divulging the initiatives taken by the district administration, ADC (General) Rahul Chaba said 11,000 saplings have already been planted, especially in villages, to increase the green cover.
He said 4,884 stubble management machines have been distributed to the needy on subsidy in the district during the past three years while approval to provide another 489 machines has been granted this season. “These machines will be given to 19 farmers, 30 panchayats, 105 cooperative societies and 335 farmers’ groups,” Chaba revealed.
The ADC disclosed that an extensive awareness campaign has been launched under which each block has been covered with a mobile van to educate the villagers, especially the peasants, against the menace of stubble burning.
Besides, special farmers’ camps are being organised in the clusters, each covering five-seven villages, where the agriculture experts are apprising the farmers of the ill-effects of stubble burning, various measures to manage crop residue and the benefits of proper management.
“Hoardings and banners are also being displayed at the main locations in the villages to spread awareness on this issue,” added Chaba.
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