Punjab government today banned the harvesting of wheat crop with combines during night to ensure that crops remain clean and dry.
The ban order will remain effective from 7 pm to 10 am till May 29, Agriculture Department Director Mangal Singh Sandhu said.
He noted that crops absorb moisture during the night due to dew and therefore the harvesting would adversely affect the purchase of grains by procurement agencies.
Since the beginning of March, unseasonal rains and hailstorms have damaged rabi (winter-sown) crops in 106.73 lakh hectares of area across 14 states.
Production of wheat, a major rabi crop, is estimated to drop slightly to 95.76 million tonnes from 95.85 million tonnes in the previous year. The production may drop further due to unseasonal rains.
To curb the problem of stubble burning, which is a health hazard and also detriments the fertility of soil, Sandhu said the department has prepared the plan for promoting ultra modern straw choppers by providing maximum subsidy on it.
"The state government has announced an incentive for each district and village with financial grant of Rs 1 crore and Rs 1 lakh respectively, which were free from the stubble burning," he added.
Sandhu said only resorting to punitive measures would not yield anything and it would bring desired results only if the people were properly motivated to renounce this phenomena.
He said the agriculture scientists, environment experts and farmers must join hands for curbing this unhealthy practice with multi dimensional problems affecting the human health, besides creating ecological imbalance.