Punjab to hold officials accountable for stubble-burning

Chandigarh, For maximum participation of government officials in the ongoing anti-stubble burning campaign, the Punjab government has issued instructions to its staff making them accountable for paddy-straw burning on land owned or cultivated by them.

State Nodal Officer of the anti-stubble burning campaign K.S. Pannu said on Tuesday the government wants the employees to create awareness among farmers about the ill-effects of stubble burning.

He said stubble burning was causing irreversible damage to nature, environment and human health.

“In case any employee fails to comply, disciplinary proceedings would be initiated,” Pannu said.

“These officials have also been mandated to bring to the notice of the authorities about any incident of stubble burning across the state,” he added.

“The government has embarked on a massive programme for management of paddy straw, without burning, by the farmers. As many as 24,315 subidized agro-machines/equipment are being supplied to the farmers and cooperative societies. About 8,000 village-level nodal officers have been deputed to create awareness against stubble burning amongst farmers,” a state government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Paddy is grown across 65 lakh acres in Punjab. After harvesting paddy, about 20 million tonnes of the straw are left in the fields to be managed by farmers before sowing the next Rabi crops.

“It is estimated that 15 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt by farmers for early and easy clearance of the fields,” the spokesperson stated.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh recently wrote to Prime Minister Modi seeking Rs 100 per quintal as compensation only for those farmers who do not burn the paddy residue.