700 stubble fires in Punjab this year so far: Minister

 As many as 700 incidents of stubble burning reported in Punjab so far this year, said the state’s Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal on Wednesday.

“This year 700 incidents of stubble burning reported so far as compared to over 2,500 incidents during the same time in previous years. I had spoken to ‘Jathedar’ of Shri Akal Takht Sahib for his intervention by issuing an appeal to farmers to not burn stubble,” Dhaliwal said.

He said that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had meetings with farmers over the issue.

“We are constantly trying that the stubble should not be burnt at least in Punjab. All the officials have been told that there will be no FIR against the farmers. But we believe that the farmers will avoid stubble burning. We are also working in the direction to ensure stubble becomes an additional source of income for the farmers in the coming days,” added Dhaliwal.

Last week, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that the state government is committed to bailing out the farmers of the state from any sort of natural calamity and efforts are being made for paddy straw management. The Chief Minister, during a meeting with the farmers here at Punjab Bhawan, said that the state government is not leaving any stone unturned for this cause.

He also informed the farmers that the state government is making an all-out effort for paddy straw management.

“The farmers should support the state government for this noble cause by not burning the paddy straw. It is the need of the hour for protecting the environment of the state,” said CM Mann.

Last month, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar called upon the state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi to strive for achieving zero stubble burning in the very near future.

He promised all central help to achieve this mission.

Tomar had said, Rs 600 crore was already provided to the States this financial year and they have an unspent amount of Rs 300 Crore, which should be utilized properly. Moreover, about 2 lakh machines have been made available to the States. The Minister said, the Centre and the concerned States should jointly evolve long-term planning and must undertake multi-pronged activities to achieve the target of Zero Stubble Burning within a specified time frame. (ANI)

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