New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged scientists in the country to find a concrete solution to deal with the problem of stubble burning even as he asked farmers to seek out methods to earn money using the agriculture residue.
He said the government had taken several measures to address the problem arising out of paddy residue burning in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, which has led to smog formation in the national capital.
The government had given a subsidy of 50-80 per cent on farm machines but there was a need to find a “concrete solution” by scientists, Modi said while addressing the farmers’ conclave “Krishi Kumbha” in Lucknow through video conferencing from New Delhi.
He said the work of the scientists would have an impact on “the economic capabilities” of the country and asked them to hold discussions with farmers over issues such as optimum use of water, reduction in fertiliser use and storage facilities.
The Prime Minister said farmers can turn the agriculture residue into wealth as everything found in the farms has the worth of gold.
He said there was need to work collectively and comprehensively to free farmers from stubble burning and save the environment.
Modi said the government had undertaken a project to replace diesel and electricity-operated water pumps with those run on solar energy. “We have mission to distribute solar systems to 28 lakh farmers in the country,” he said.
He said farmers, who are called “annadata” (food provider), can become “urjadata” (power provider) if they sell additional electricity that is saved after their personal consumption to electricity distribution companies.
He gave an example of some Gujarat farmers who earned Rs 50,000 annually by selling a part of the electricity they generated using solar systems.
Modi also praised the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for achieving record grain procurement and directly benefiting the farmers.
Compared to his predecessors the Adityanath government has procured seven to eight times more crop produce, Modi said, adding that the state produces almost 20 per cent of the total grain in the country.
“This year 50-55 lakh tonnes of wheat was purchased in Uttar Pradesh…,” Modi said, adding that his government increased the procurement price of Rabi and Kharif by 21 per cent.
He said that direct procurement eliminated the middlemen and benefited the farmers. The BJP government is concerned about the farmers, the Prime Minister said.
In a first, the state would soon procure potatoes to enable farmers to get a fair price, he added.