Nitish Kumar tells Bihar officials to discourage stubble burning 'without resorting to punishment'

The Bihar chief minister said farmers must be told that the government is providing a subsidy of 75 percent towards purchase of implements such as rotory mulcher, straw reaper, straw baler and reaper cum binder

Press Trust of India December 14, 2020 22:49:58 IST
Nitish Kumar tells Bihar officials to discourage stubble burning 'without resorting to punishment'

File image of Nitish Kumar at rally in Bihar. PTI

Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday expressed grave concern over the practice of burning stubble gaining currency among farmers of the state and asked top officials to assess the situation through aerial surveys and take deterrent measures without taking recourse to punitive action.

Addressing a function in Patna, Kumar stressed on the need for proper communication with farmers, listening to their problems, and apprising them of the harms of stubble farming and the governments incentives for alternative use of the cut stalks.

The chief minister said, farmers must be told that the government was providing a subsidy of 75 percent, which went up to 80 percent for those belonging to the SCs and STs, towards purchase of implements like rotory mulcher, straw reaper, straw baler and reaper cum binder.

He said, the use of these would help the farmers do away with stubble burning, which caused air pollution and soil erosion, while enhancing their agricultural income since what is generally considered farm waste could be recycled and put to use for manufacturing many items.

Kumar, who recently won his fourth consecutive term in power, recalled with dismay the rampant stubble burning he came to witness while he was touring the state as part of the election campaign.

"I have asked the chief secretary to take officials concerned along and conduct a survey by helicopter to identify places where the practice has taken roots. Please try to persuade the misguided farmers. I am not talking about any punitive action", the chief minister emphasised.

He was addressing a function where "jalvaay ke anurup krishi" (climate smart agriculture) was launched for the entire state.

One of the 11 components of his governments anti- climate change "Jal Jeevan Hariyali" campaign, which has been lauded by internationally renowned figures like Bill Gates, climate smart agriculture was initially launched in eight districts of the state last year as a pilot project.
On Monday, the second phase of climate smart agriculture was launched in these districts while for the remaining 30, it was the commencement of the first phase.

The chief minister remarked with delight that Bihar's attempt to do its bit in combating climate change has been talked about in the United Nations and exhorted officials to work with the spirit of "setting an example before the world".

The function was addressed, among others, by deputy chief ministers Tar Kishore Prasad and Renu Devi, and the ministers for water resources and agriculture Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Amarendra Pratap Singh respectively.

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