Interacting with the mediapersons here, the Chief Minister, accompanied by his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, said the state government is working on a multi-pronged strategy and has already roped in agriculture experts and the farmers unions for working out a viable solution for this problem.
He said already the government has given 1.20 lakh machines for the in-situ management of the paddy straw. Mann said this is problem of the entire north India, and the Union government must intervene for joint resolution of this matter by all aggrieved states.
The Chief Minister said the state is encouraging the farmers to adopt crop diversification. However, he said the Union government must give them remunerative minimum support price (MSP) for these crops.
Mann said this will help encouraging the farmers adopt alternate crops and solving this problem.
The Chief Minister said the farmers get time of 10-12 days between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat. He said in lack of any viable alternative, the farmers rely on a matchstick to solve the problem.
Mann said if the Centre provides solution for it, then the farmers will never burn the paddy straw.
The Chief Minister said the government has already encouraged farmers after thousands of panchayats had passed resolutions for not burning paddy straw. The country feels proud that in any year bumper crop has been produced.
However, Mann said “we forget that this has also enhanced the production of paddy straw too”.
The Chief Minister said in Punjab, farmers cultivate paddy on 75 lakh hectares out of which the paddy straw is burnt over only on 40 lakh hectares.
He said the remaining farmers never indulge in such practice, which pollutes environment. Mann said the state government has set up a plant of bio energy production in Sangrur, adding more such plants will be set up across the state.
The Chief Minister reminded that Punjab farmers had played a major role in making the country self-reliant in food production.
He said they had submitted a detailed solution for the paddy straw burning by offering to jointly pay financial assistance to farmers worth Rs 2,500 in lieu of not burning paddy straw.
However, he said instead of accepting this proposal, the Centre had “blatantly refused” to bail out the farmers.
Likewise, Mann said in order to provide a viable solution for management of paddy straw, a large number of investors wanted to come to the state and set up bio energy plants.
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