Sangrur (Punjab: Stubble burning in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana can be completely stopped if the benefits of the Happy Seeder machine are driven home and farmers are incentivized to use it, says the not-for-profit India Paryavaran Sahayak (IPS) Foundation. It has started with ‘ChangeBuddy’ programme in five districts of Punjab to persuade the farmers indulging in stubble burning to use Happy Seeder, which clears the loose straw that creates problems in sowing and thus rules out the possibility of stubble burning.
As the machine is expensive at Rs 150,000 and renting it costs farmers almost Rs 1,500 per acre, the IPS Foundation said it has decided to provide an incentive of Rs 400 per acre if farmers hire the Happy Seeder. On its part, the central government provides a 50 percent subsidy for purchasing the machine.
The Foundation has selected 155 villages in five districts — Barnala, Hoshiarpur, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Rupnagar — for the initiative. The initiative could provide much relief to farmers who want to use the Happy Seeder but end up burning the paddy remains due to financial constraints, IPS Foundation CEO Ritesh Bhatia said.
“Many bodies, including the government, are working on the issue. Our initiative is just a different route to expand the objective. Under the ‘ChangeBuddy’ programme, we have got progressive farmers to share their experiences about using Happy Seeder with other farmers,” he said after a session with farmers in Mehla Chowk village of Sangarur district last week.
The Foundation has raised over Rs 50 lakh from 11 corporates to support the initiative, he said. “We are working in about 155 villages. For monetary assistance part, we have registered farmers with their land details. After the sowing season ends, we will audit their farms and give them Rs 400 per acre if they have chosen Happy Seeder over burning the residue,” Bhatia explained. (IANS)