The Uttar Pradesh agriculture department has warned that it will stop giving benefits of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi (PMKSN) to farmers who are found engaged in stubble burning, leading to air pollution.

The first such action has been reported from Deoria where the department has slapped served a notice on nine farmers accused of burning agricultural wastes despite repeated warnings.

Additional chief secretary, agriculture, Devesh Chaturvedi, said that the step was taken to discourage farmers from burning farm waste.

“It is just a warning to the farmers who are not abiding by the state government directions, ” he said.

Experts said that the threat of stopping the grant under PMKSN was bound to send jitters to around 2. 83 crore farmers who are registered under the scheme.

Though there is no provision allowing the state government to stop the central grants to the farmers, the measure would caution the farmers, officials said.

The move comes days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked officials to set up district wise camps to sensitise farmers about the ill effects of stubble burning.

Yogi Adityanath, in fact, had suggested fermenting the stubble by adding urea and water.

Joint Director, Agriculture, R.K. Singh said, “The department has been taking strict action to bring down the instances of stubble burning in the state. The situation has improved a bit but there is still room for improvement.”

Officials said that stringent action, including lodging of FIRs, imposing fines between Rs 2, 500 and 15, 000 and seizing farm equipment had been taken by the district authorities. However, there has been a spate of instances of burning of crop residue.

According to the data collected by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), close to 800 incidents of farm fire were reported from across the state until earlier this month this season.

UP happens to be the highest producer of agricultural residue (40 MT) followed by Maharashtra (31MT) and Punjab (28 MT).

The state government had, in fact, proposed funding transportation of stubble to shelter homes meant for stray cattle.

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