Given the severe situation caused by the stubble burning in Delhi and adjacent states, Punjab government has tried its hands on every alternative to save the crop burning menace, but to no avail. Punjab government despite trying to promote Super Straw Management System (SSMS) and providing Rs 50,000 subsidy on it is hardly being able to tackle the problem of stubble burning. The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) had even issued an advisory pertaining to its use, Indian Express reported. The system is being promoted by the Punjab government in order to replace crop burning and managing the crop at the time of harvest itself.
In Punjab, SSMS could be attached to only around 1,000 combine harvesters against the recommended 7,500 (Which comes to nearly 13 per cent of the required number) and those fitted could harvest paddy on 40,000 hectares (one lakh acres) across the state this season. Over 24 lakh hectares area was under paddy crop and as a result, only 1.6 per cent of the total paddy harvesting could be done with SSMS-fitted combine harvesters. In the month of January, the Punjab government had passed an order saying that fitting SSMS was compulsory with all combine harvesters in Punjab but after farmers’ opposition for the same in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) government withdrew the order and then got issued an advisory from PPCB to all the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of the states in July this year (around two months before harvesting) that they should ensure to get fitted SMS with all the combine-Harvesters in their respective districts.
According to Director (Punjab agriculture) Dr J S Bains, though the number of areas harvested through Super SMS fitted combines a ver small portion, the department is of the opinion that such steps have been able to change the mindset of the farmers towards the machine which wad totally rejected in the beginning. Punjab has seen over 40,000 field fires till date during the paddy harvesting season this year.