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Punjab govt. to give incentives to industries for using stubble

A farmer burns stubble near Amritsar.

A farmer burns stubble near Amritsar.

In an effort to check stubble burning menace during the paddy season, the Punjab govenment has decided to permit certain categories of industries to install paddy-straw-fired boilers to claim fiscal incentives.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday. The Cabinet also decided to provide cumulative fiscal incentives of ₹25 crore to the first 50 existing industries on ‘first come first serve’ basis for using paddy straw as fuel in boilers, said an official statement. The industries that can get this benefit include sugar mills, pulp and paper mills among others.

The Cabinet also approved non-fiscal incentives to industries in terms of availability of ‘Panchayat’ land for storage of paddy straw with lease agreement upto 33 years. Apart from this, balers would be made available on priority in areas where paddy straw is used as fuel in boilers, said the statement, adding that the move would help in tackling the menace of stubble burning during harvesting of Kharif crops, thus also conserving the fertility of soil and saving the beneficial micro-organisms.

‘Significant decision’

The statement said the decision assumes significance in view of the challenge of managing crop residue.

“Post harvesting, while the wheat straw is used as fodder for the livestock, paddy straw in the fields is set on fire by the farmers to quickly clear their fields for next crop. Due to field fire incidents during the month of October-November, the problem of air pollution is widely prevalent in and around the rural area, causing major health effects,” it said.

“Due to the climatic conditions, the air quality in the national capital region also deteriorates, with contribution from various local sources such as domestic, vehicular, industrial and municipal solid waste dump fires. However, farm fires in the neighbouring States is also blamed for air pollution in the NCR. Paddy is cultivated in 31.49 lakh hectare area (2020) in Punjab, resulting in the generation of about 20 million tons of paddy straw,” the statement added.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 6:20:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-govt-to-give-incentives-to-industries-for-using-stubble/article36129865.ece