Chandigarh, April 7: The Punjab government on Thursday, April 7 banned the harvesting of Rabi crop with combine harvesters from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. and the order will remain in forced till May 31, an official said.
"The harvesting of crop has been banned during night so that the produce could be clean and dry as per the norms and specifications.
The crop absorbs moisture during night due to dew, thus, its harvesting adversely affects its purchase by procurement agencies. Further movement of operation of combines to night is risky and can be a cause of fatal accidents," said an agriculture department spokesman.
Combine harvester is an agricultural machine that reaps, threshes and cleans a cereal crop in one operation.
Farmers in the agrarian state are harvesting the wheat crop these days while it procurement has officially started from April 1. The bulk crop is expected to arrive in mandis (grain markets) after the harvest festival of Baisakhi (April 13).
To tackle the problem of stubble burning by farmers, the agriculture department has extended subsidy to farmers for purchase of straw choppers.
"To get rid of menace of straw burning in the state, the government has already announced an incentive for each district and village with a financial grant of Rs.1 crore and Rs.1 lakh respectively, which were free from the stubble burning across the state," the spokesman said.
Stubble burning is considered a health hazard as well as being detrimental to the fertility of soil.
Green Revolution state Punjab, which occupies just 1.54 percent of the country's geographical area, contributes nearly 50 percent of food grains to the national kitty.