To curb the practice of stubble burning, which not only causes pollution but also affects the fertility of soil, the Punjab government on Thursday announced Rs. one crore for the district and Rs. one lakh for the village which abstains from the straw burning.

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal Thursday said that the decision of giving incentive has been consciously taken to curb the practice of stubble burning, which he said was not only health hazardous but equally detrimental to the fertility of soil.

He was addressing a gathering at a workshop jointly organised by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board and Punjab Pollution Control Board in Chandigarh, according to an official release.

"Merely resorting to punitive measures to end this curse would not yield any positive results unless people are properly motivated to give up this anti-environmental and pollution causing phenomena," Badal said.

The chief minister also appealed to the Centre, agriculture scientists, environment experts and farmers to join hands for putting an end to this unhealthy practise with "multi-dimensional" problems.

At the same time, he also called upon the farmers not to go for a "mad race" for sowing one crop after another just to reap maximum profits.

The chief minister also called upon the Centre to come out with a farmer-friendly scheme to effectively cope up with the menace of stubble burning by giving liberal incentives on farm equipments and machinery.

"The state government was already giving subsidy on the purchase of such farm machinery to the farmers to encourage them to stay away from the menace of straw burning," he said.

Speaking at the occasion, Ashok Lavasa, secretary, ministry of environment, forest and climate change, lauded the initiatives of the state government for creating awareness among the farmers about the adverse impact of stubble burning.

He also assured the chief minister of extending all possible help and assistance to the state in its endeavour to make Punjab a "stubble burning free" state.

Sharing his views, Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal said Punjab has already taken a lead in making judicious use of its bio-mass by using it as a feed in bio-mass based power projects, fuel in form of briquettes in the brick kilns, inputs for paper making and others.

Kaushal also apprised that the Union government has sanctioned Rs. 6 crore for the installation of ethanol based power generation project at Hoshiarpur.

Source: 9 January, 2015, Hindustan Times