23 August 2020, Chandigarh: The Punjab Government has made it mandatory for Combine harvesters to have Super Straw Management system attached with the harvesters under the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The aim to ensure cleaner environment especially considering COVID-19 pandemic and reduce air pollution stemming from burning of paddy straw which adversely affects the fertility of soil.
Disclosing this, the Secretary Agriculture and Nodal Officer for control of residue burning campaign Kahan Singh Pannu said that some combine owners out of total 13,000 in the State, try not to install the super SMS system just to save the time and cost of operation.
With paddy grown in 67 lac acres of land in Punjab and just one month left for harvesting of Paddy to start, the harvester combines without Straw Management System will not be allowed to operate and the same shall be impounded with imposition of heavy fines in addition to lodging of cases against them in the courts which entail imprisonment upto 6 years, warned Kahan Singh Pannu.
Explaining the salient features of the system, Secretary, Agriculture pointed out that this system helps the direct wheat sowing with machines such as Happy Seeders, Super Seeders and Zero till seed drills and thus save the time and money of the farmers. Furthermore, the management of paddy residue in the fields harvested by straw management system fitted combines is quite easy and therefore does not require the farmers to burn the residue, added K. S. Pannu.
Listing the incentives provided by the State Government, he said that this year Government of Punjab is providing subsidy ranging from 50% to 80% for the purchase of 23500 crop residue management machines the use of which will help the farmers to sow wheat without resorting to straw burning. In addition, the State Government is giving 50% subsidy to the combine owners for setting up the system on the combines, averred Secretary, Agriculture.
Exhorting the combine owners to extensively use the super straw management systems of combines, K. S. Pannu appealed to them to be equal partners in endeavour of the Punjab Government to ensure a cleaner and greener environment and flora and fauna.