26 August 2021, Chandigarh: To increase the maximum usage of agri-machinery for paddy straw management, the State Agriculture department organized the webinar-cum-training session in collaboration with the Cooperatives Societies, Punjab, which was attended by nearly 1500 employees from cooperative societies, agriculture department besides residue machinery operators participated through online as well as from YouTube channel of PAU.
While inaugurating the webinar, the Director Agriculture Sukhdev Singh Sidhu informed that the cooperative societies, which would contribute in increasing the use of machinery and already took efforts to reduce number of burning of paddy straw, would be given priority in providing the facilities.
On the directives of Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Mr. Anirudh Tewari and the guidance of Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Balwinder Singh Sidhu today’s webinar was organized, said Sidhu adding that besides secretaries of cooperative societies, machine operators and officers/employees of Cooperatives and Agriculture Department participated the event. The department has already initiated a massive drive to provide more than 25000 agro-machines/farm equipment to farmers for in-situ management of paddy residue with subsidy component of Rs. 250 crore during the current fiscal. He said that subsidy ranging from 50% to 80% is being offered to the farmers under the scheme with 80 percent subsidy to cooperative societies and farmers groups while 50 percent is for individuals, said the Director.
Under the first phase, the department sanctioned the applications of Cooperative Societies and Panchayats for procurement of 2000 agri-machines/equipments to ensure the prevention of stubble burning incidents after the paddy harvesting season. In second phase, the applications from cooperatives societies and panchayats for Balers would be sanctioned and priority to be given to the districts with Biomass Industry falling under hotspot districts of Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Moga and Mansa. He also stated that in order to supply the requisite machinery to farmers, the department has fully geared up to complete the task of distribution of these implements well before paddy harvesting season.
Pertinently, the State government has focused to deliver state-of-the-art machines to farmers including Super SMS, Happy Seeder, Paddy Straw Chopper/Shredder/Mulcher, Hydraulic Reversible Mould Board Plough and Zero Till Drill.
During 2018-2019, 2019-20 and 2020-21, as many as 76622 specialized equipment/machines including Balers have been provided to farmers and Custom Hiring Centres across the State on 50% to 80% subsidy for In-situ & ex-situ management.
During webinar speakers also urged the farmers to make optimum use of subsidized agri-machinery to do away the practice of stubble burning thereby ensuring health and hygiene of the people besides preserving the environment of the state. Dr. Harminder Singh Sidhu Scientist, International Organization BISA, Ludhiana described the sowing of wheat by Happy Seeder as a sustainable solution for straw management as excellent and also assured that the technical knowledge to operate Happy Seeder machine will be available on time.
On behalf of Tata-TNC Trust Mr. Baljinder Saini, Mrs. Loveleen Kaur Bains , Head Extension Cell, Guru Nanak National College Doraha, Mr. Chandrakant Pradhan, CII and Mr. Harminder Sidhu President Gadri Baba Dulla Singh Nihal Singh Foundation Jalaldiwal Raikot and other eminent persons shared the efforts being made by their respective organizations to prevent burning of paddy straw and assured that all possible cooperation would be extended to the cooperative societies
Dr. Jaskaran Singh Mahal, Director Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and Er. Mahesh Narang, Head, Department of Power Machinery, PAU, Dr. S.S. Manhas, Expert Crop Agronomy & Management , provided detailed training to the officers and employees of the participating officials of cooperative societies.
Mr. Manmohan Kalia, Nodal Officer CRM -Joint Director Agriculture (Engg.), Mrs. Baljinder Bajwa, Joint Secretary Cooperative Societies, Dr. Rajbir Singh Brar ATARI, (ICAR) were also present on the occasion.
The webinar was also aired on PAU’s live YouTube channel, which was viewed by about 250 people and shared their thoughts.