Gurdaspur: Adopt new technology to counter stubble burning, experts tell farmers : The Tribune India

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Gurdaspur: Adopt new technology to counter stubble burning, experts tell farmers

Gurdaspur: Adopt new technology to counter stubble burning, experts tell farmers


Tribune News Service

Ravi Dhaliwal

Gurdaspur, November 17

Farmers will continue to engage in setting alight paddy residue because there are no concrete options available to them and whatever alternatives they have are too costly for them.

Punitive action helping check fires

  • The decision of DC Himanshu Aggarwal to suspend nambardars of those villages where even a single fire is reported has gone a long way in curbing the menace
  • “The DC’s order to punish the village nambardar is playing a big role in bringing the situation under control,” said Amrik Singh, Agriculture Officer.

Paddy harvesting began in this district on October 1. Against a total of 854 fires reported last year, 376 have been recorded in the corresponding period this year.

Experts, however, maintain that eradicating the menace is a far-fetched scenario.

Amrik Singh, Agriculture Officer, Gurdaspur, says his department is impressing upon the farming community to promote short-duration crops, like PR-126, PUSA-1509. “These crops have a maturity period of 90-95 days, instead of 125-130 days for non-basmati ones,” he says. However, experts counter him and claim this is not a feasible option as basmati is not procured by the government at MSP thereby denying farmers an assured income.

Agriculture officials opine the other solution is to adopt technology to counter the practice of burning stubble. “Farmers are increasingly using various techniques and equipment to tide over the problem. They are also going in for direct seeding of wheat by mixing residue with soil using Rotavators,” said an official. However, farmers say there is an acute shortage of equipment, particularly balers, and to compound matters not many paddy growers can afford these.

“We are already under debt. How can we afford the equipment? So the only choice for us is to burn the stubble. In Gurdaspur, on a conservative estimate, 70-80 per cent farmers are debt-ridden,” said Harnam Singh of Abul Khair village.

Yet another solution propounded by the government is using stubble to generate energy or in cement plants. “However, balers are extremely costly and are out of reach of the farmers, a majority of whom are below the poverty line,” said an agriculture officer.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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