- Probe ordered in farm stuble burning machines.
- At least 11,275 machines are said to have been missing.
- Since 2018, 90,422 machines have been provided under the In-Situ Crop Residue Management Scheme..
Punjab: A vigilance inquiry is launched by the Punjab Govt in connection with the 11,000 machines for handling crop stubble in the state which “exist only on paper”.
Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal today said he’d ordered a field survey after receiving reports that the machines, for which the central government gave subsidy, “never reached the farmers”.
He said during an initial investigation, it appeared nearly Rs 150 crore had been embezzled. The Centre had provided Rs 1,178 crore subsidy between 2018-19 and 2021-22 for buying machinery for crop residual management under the In-Situ Crop Residue Management Scheme.
In this cross check drive, from 2018 to this month of the 90,422 machines that the government claimed to have bought and distributed — at least 11,275 (about 13 per cent) are not with the supposed beneficiaries.
Sources in the know added that, the list of beneficiaries in this centrally-funded scheme was to be cleared by the deputy commissioners concerned. However in several districts, the lists were provided by MLAs, they said.
The machines spoken of in the matter are said help shave that residue off for other uses, eradicating the burning practice redundant. Burning of stuble has been a common practice in Punjab and Haryana, which has attributed to major environmental problems.