Allow MPs to use MPLAD funds to curb farm fires: Harsimrat

Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Chandigarh,  Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow MPs to use MPLAD funds to curb the practice of stubble burning by funding stubble cleaning and super seeder machines to farmers of their constituencies.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Union Minister stated that one of the major reasons for the unabated stubble burning practice across north India was the high cost of machines which poor farmers are not in a position to afford.

She said though a Central scheme under the name of ‘promotion of agricultural mechanization for in-situ management of crop residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCR of Delhi’ provided subsidy to incentivize farmers not to burn crop residue, the number of machines provided was much less than needed.

She apprised Modi that in absence of much-needed high-cost machinery, farmers did not have any option but to get rid of their crop residue.

She requesting the Prime Minister to take all measures needed to address stubble burning which had turned the entire region into a gas chamber.

Badal said if MPs were allowed to purchase balers and other associated machinery for panchayats or group of farmers, it would go a long way in improving the environment by curbing stubble burning and reducing the air pollution levels across the region.