Rejecting allegations of favouritism being shown to certain manufacturers, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Sunday ordered a first-of-its-kind social pre-audit of the Crop Residue Management (CRM) scheme for supplying farm equipment/machinery on subsidy to farmers.The social pre-audit by the Agriculture Department will nail the lies being propagated by certain vested political interests, said the Chief Minister, adding that there not a single farmer had questioned the quality of the machines/equipment being supplied under the scheme, aimed at ensuring scientific disposal of paddy straw during Kharif Season-2020.The Chief Minister said the pre audit will seek to make the scheme more efficacious, broad-based and farmer-friendly with the ultimate goal of making the state free of pollution triggered by stubble burning. Suggestions and objections, if any, will be invited from all stakeholders for this purpose.The Union Government has been running the scheme for the past two years for distributing farm machinery among farmers and cooperative societies for effective in-situ management of the paddy straw. Under the scheme, farmers from Punjab have been given subsidy of nearly Rs. 460 Crore on 50,815 farm machines. The GoI has already listed around 180 manufacturers from Punjab to ensure supply of farm equipment/ machinery in this regard.During the current year, the Government intends to give subsidy approximately to the tune of Rs. 300 crore on 23500 on such machines.
Captain Amarinder Singh has directed ACS Development Anirudh Tiwari to provide these machines to farmers/societies only after the completion of the said audit.The ACS said the social pre audit would be completed well before the distribution of farm machinery/equipment to the farmers and cooperative societies. Around 7000 individual farmers will be given the machines at 50% subsidy, while 5000 cooperative societies, panchayats and farmers' groups would be given the machines at 80% subsidized rate.The state-of-the-art equipment/machines required for in-situ management of paddy include Super Straw Management System on Combine Harvesters, Happy Seeder, Paddy Straw Chopper/Shredder, Mulcher, RMB Plough, Zero Till Drill and Super Seeder to ensure zero burning of paddy residue in the open fields. To further improve the paddy management system, the Agriculture Department has also decided to provide to the farmers/societies etc mechanised equipment, needed for ex-situ management of paddy straw, such as balers and rakes, on subsidy, said the ACS.Meanwhile, Secretary Agriculture KS Pannu has urged all the farmers, farmer organizations, political parties, machine manufacturers and NGOs to put forward their suggestions and objections in order to make the scheme better aligned to the interests of farmers. He also said that the suggestions or objections can be submitted till August 17, 2020 to the Director, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department, Punjab in writing, by post, via email at [email protected] or through whatsapp on 987600780 or 9478049498.