New Delhi: Air pollution in Delhi is expected to be less severe this winter with the Modi government claiming a drastic reduction in stubble burning cases.
According to data presented by the Ministry of Agriculture at the conference on Crop Residue Management Monday, the number of stubble burning incidents had reduced by 41 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in 2018 as compared to 2016.
The government hopes that the numbers will reduce further this year as according to the ministry, it has set aside Rs 1,151.80 crore to combat crop residue burning through subsidising farm equipment introduced by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) such as Happy Seeder, Zero Till Seed cum Fertilizer Drill, Mulcher and Reversible Plough, among other initiatives.
As of the 2018-19 fiscal, total funds of Rs 584.33 crore have been released to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to distribute these machines to farmers on individual ownership basis or custom hiring centres.
Stubble burning cases fall
Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi said the state has witnessed a substantial drop in the number of stubble burning cases from 9,709 cases in 2017 to 6,636 in 2018.
He added that strict measures were taken against farmers to deter them from stubble burning, including notices to 891 farmers and the state collecting fines totalling Rs 28 lakh in line with the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
An official of the agriculture ministry said the number of crop burning cases in Punjab and Haryana in 2018 were still around 1,00,200 and 2,836 respectively.
Lease of farm machinery on app
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala Monday also launched a multilingual mobile app, CHC Farm Machinery, to help farmers hire the anti-stubble machines from custom hiring services located within a 50 km radius of their farms.
This app connects the farmers with custom hiring service centres in their area and is available on Google Play Store. The custom hiring centres are meant to provide the machines such as the Happy Seeder to small and marginal farmers who cannot afford ownership of these machines.