Chandigarh, Sep 27 (PTI) The Punjab government has come out with an elaborate action plan to curb the deadly menace of stubble burning in the state that includes facilitating its industrial use and energy conversion.Also Read - Will Not Let Farmers Die by Suicide After April 1, Making Plans For Farming: Kejriwal in Punjab

The plan has been drawn up by the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, on the direction of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh — who has also appealed to farmers to abstain from burning the agricultural residue. Also Read - Captain Amarinder Singh To Form His New Party Ahead of Punjab Polls, Alliance With BJP Likely

“I appeal to the farmers to abstain from the harmful practice of burning the paddy residue, which is causing large scale pollution in the state,” Singh said today. Also Read - Singhu Border Killing: Second 'Nihang' Arrested From Punjab Village Over Gruesome Murder of Dalit Man

With 75 per cent of the 19.7 million tonne of paddy straw generated in Punjab every year, the problem has assumed dangerous proportions, leading to loss of organic material for soil, degradation of air quality and high SPM level, an official release said here today.

Of the total paddy straw, only 21.8 per cent is consumed in biomass based projects, paper/cardboard mills and animal fodder/other uses, while a small portion is managed through other systems such as machinery and equipment, it said.

The Department has suggested management of the remaining 15.40 million tonne per year of paddy residue through crop diversification, agriculture straw management equipment and industrial use.

“Significant investment is being made to set up biomass power plant, bio refineries and demonstration plants in various parts of the state to facilitate industrial use and energy conversion of the agricultural residue,” it said.

In addition, the chief minister has already suggested to the central government a proposal to provide financial incentives, in addition to MSP, to motivate the farmers to desist from stubble burning, it further said.

The village panchayats have also been directed to provide written information of any incident of straw burning to the police, while a major campaign to create awareness among the farmers about the ill-effects of stubble burning has also been launched.

Steps are also being taken to monitor incidents of stubble burning, with the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, having been engaged by Punjab Pollution Control Board to deliver real-time information about fire incidents.

Amarinder would hold further meetings with the Union Ministers of Agriculture and Finance on the issue next week.

Burning of all kinds of crop residue is banned in Punjab.

The crop stubble burning in October-November period by many farmers in Haryana and Punjab has been a prime cause of environmental pollution in recent years.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.