Nearly 1.37 lakh acres of panchayati land are used for agricultural purposes in the state of Punjab .
Chandigarh: In order to discourage farmers from burning stubble, the Punjab government will bar offenders from taking panchayat land on lease in the future.
Disclosing this here on Sunday, agriculture secretary Kahan Singh Pannu revealed that nearly 1.37 lakh acres of panchayati land were being used for agriculture, where the practice of open stubble burning could be averted effectively, through coherent compliance of government orders issued under Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The department has sent a communiqué to panchayats department to issue requisite directions in this regard, so that farmers cultivating panchayati lands can be apprised about the proposal, which may disqualify them from bidding process of these lands in next auction, in case they indulge in stubble burning after harvesting paddy.
Referring to the celebration of 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev in the state, Mr Pannu said that it was the government’s duty to keep Punjab’s environment safe and healthy on this pious occasion as millions of devotees from across the globe would be visiting religious places associated with the first Sikh Guru in different parts of the state. In reverence to this historic event, besides upholding the ideology of Guru Nanak to protect natural resources, farmers should refrain from burning paddy straw, which poses a serious threat to the environment, soil texture as well as human health, he added.
Emphasising the need to sensitise farmers holding panchayati lands against the ill-effects of crop residue burning, Mr Pannu said that the rural development and panchayats department should launch a massive drive to persuade the farmers to abstain from this practice.
Mr Pannu pointed out that the state agriculture department had already ordered the impounding of the combine harvester machines that were functioning without a super straw management system (SSMS). He said that no harvester combine should be allowed to harvest paddy in the state of Punjab in the absence of SSMS.