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Haryana seeks Rs 1,600 cr from Centre for crop residue management

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Haryana agriculture minister O P Dhankar said the state government was aware of the crop residue burning issue and his department has submitted a Rs 1,601.57 crore plan to the Centre for procuring required machinery for the management of stubble.

He was replying to a calling attention motion on the first day of the winter session of Haryana Assembly here.

"The department has submitted a five-year plan of Rs 1,601.57 crore to the central government. The central government has released Rs 45 crore for providing straw management machines on subsidy to the farmers of the state for crop residue management in the year 2017-18," Dhankar said.

The minister said in pursuance to an order of the NGT, the government had issued a notification dated September 16, 2003 prohibiting burning of left-over straw in the state.

Coordinated efforts have been made by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Environment Department and New and Renewable Energy Department (HAREDA) to solve the problem face by farmers, Dhankar said.

He said the department has identified 11 categories of straw management implements for which it has received 5,162 applications online.

The minister said disbursal of subsidy to the farmers is under process and 944 straw management implements have already been distributed to them as on October 16.

He said currently, the department possesses 65 zero-till seed-cum-fertiliser drill, 26 happy seeders and two straw balers which are being made available to the farmers on hire basis at nominal rates.

Dhankar also informed the House that his department was also providing incentives under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM) on demonstration at Rs 4,000 per hectare to farmers who have purchased the machinery on subsidy and want to run it for straw management demonstration purpose.

A total of 18,000 hectares of land would be covered for demonstration of crop residue management, covering 15 major paddy growing districts for practical knowledge of the farmers regarding the use of straw management implements. Rs 7.2 crore would be spent for this, he said.

The minister said to tackle the issue of straw burning and to promote paddy straw-based biomass power projects in the state, HAREDA has floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for setting up such plants on pilot basis in Karnal, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Kaithal, Jind and Fatehabad districts.

This would consume about 5.5 lakh tonnes of paddy straw as fuel. The capacity of paddy straw consumption is targeted to be increased by about 11 lakh ton in the second phase, Dhankar said.

He said HAREDA is also in the process of formulating a Biomass Policy 2017 for the state with an objective to harness biomass-based power, biogas, bio-CNG, bio-manure and bio- fuels.

District Magistrates have set up enforcement teams to check crop residue burning and recover penalty from farmers who resort to the act in violation of NGT orders in this regard, the minister said.

Earlier, the Haryana Assembly paid tributes to prominent personalities who died between the period from the end of the previous session and the beginning of this session of the House.

Members of the House also observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to the departed souls. They also paid tributes to those who lost their lives during the violence in Panchkula and Sirsa on August 25.