Stubble burning: Cash-strapped Punjab wants Centre to provide 100 pc subsidy  

Stubble Burning

Representational image (Photo: Getty Images)

Under fire over incidents of stubble burning, cash-strapped Punjab government has been urging the Centre to help in dissuading farmers from the practice by offering 100 per cent subsidy on straw management machinery and Rs. 2000 per acre incentive for farmers for not burning the crop residue.

The Centre has put the blame on stubble burning on Punjab government by releasing statistics that show the Union agriculture ministry had allocated Rs. 97.5 crore to the state for 2016-17 and 2017-18, but the funds remained unutilised.

Responding to this, senior state agriculture department officials said there is no denying of the fact that the Centre had provided the grants and the same was being released to farmers, but unless 100 per cent subsidy was provided for machines required for straw management, stubble burning was not likely to come to an end despite best efforts of the authorities.


Under the present system, a farmer buying a stubble management machine needs to bear about 60 per cent of its cost. Of the remaining 40 per cent, the Centre pays the 60 per cent and the state government pays the remaining 40 per cent of it.

“Preventing stubble  burning is not a normal work, it will require  a major shift.  Therefore, we had asked for Rs 1109 Crore for the management of stubble in three years. Out of this, we had sought Rs. 250 Crore in the first year,  Rs 400 Crore in the second and the rest in third year. But the Centre didn’t agree to this and instead provided us the grants like any other scheme,” said a senior agriculture department official wishing not to be named.

“If the Centre had given us even sixty per cent of the Rs 1109 Crore, they we would have said they have given us the required money.  But with just Rs 97 Crore for two years , we can’t prevent stubble burning in whole of Punjab,” he added.

The joint director, agriculture, Manmohan Singh Kalia said about seven thousand straw management machines have been purchased machines this harvesting season. He said many more farmers had placed orders for machines but  they cancelled orders after the farmers unions started backing stubble burning and the political parties also opposed any action against farmers over stubble burning.

“Almost double the number of machinery was purchased by farmers this harvesting season for stubble management. But those who were still thinking about it got confused because of farmers unions. The increased cost due to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) also played a part in cancellation of orders,” Kalia added.

Over 50 thousand incidents of stubble burning have been reported in Punjab this paddy season. Farmers prefer stubble burning over its scientific management through machines, which is good for the soil and environment,   as the latter requires an expenditure of about Rs. 5000 per care while the it takes a matchstick to set the straw on fire.