Choking smog: Centre asks states to manage crop residue better
To tackle severe pollution in the national capital, the Centre today asked Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to help farmers hire machines to manage crop residue, besides creating awareness among them about the harmful effect of straw burning.
It also directed the states to demonstrate the crop residue management machines at farm fields using the Rs 132.5 crore funds allocated to them for this purpose under the Sub- Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation for the current fiscal.
In an advisory issued to these states, the Union agriculture ministry said: "Burning of crop residue in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also contributes to increasing environment pollution level."
The National Green Tribunal has directed Delhi and the four states to take strict measures to deal with the pollution problem, it said in a statement. In view of the seriousness of the problem, the ministry directed the four states to facilitate residue management machines and equipment through Custom Hiring Centres or village level Farm Machinery Banks.
The machines such as Zero Till Seed Drill, Happy Seeder, Straw Baler, Rotavator, Paddy Straw Chopper/Mulcher, Gyro Rake, Straw Reaper and Shredder are used for managing the crop residue, it said.
The states have also been directed to utilise Rs 4,000 per hectare funds available under the 'Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation' for demonstration of straw management machines at farmers' fields.
About Rs 132.5 crore funds have been allocated to the four states in 2017-18 to demonstrate the machines, the ministry said. According to the ministry data, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have together utilised Rs 68.01 crore so far while Punjab has not utilised the allocated amount of Rs 48.50 crore.
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