To curb fires, Punjab may impound 3,000 harvesters
No Room For Non-Compliant Machines
combines are tractor-driven of up to 65 horsepower capacity where fixing of these systems is not advisable as the machines are not capable of bearing the extra load.
The SMS machine costs Rs 1.1 lakh and the state government offers 50% subsidy, reducing the price to Rs vesting is done through machines with some portion still harvested manually.
However, most of the owners of old combines are not ready to fix the device. They claim that by installing the system, the load on the engine will increase. This, in turn, will increase fuel consumption by nearly 15% and the farmers who hire combines for harvesting are not ready to pay more.
“Even after fitting super SMS to combines, the issue will not be fully solved as it is not financially viable — farmers are not ready to pay more for availing the services. Under such circumstances, we are unable to spend money on the device which will not work properly. We will not fit this and will run the machines without SMS and if anyone tries to stop us from running combines, we will plan our strategy,” said an owner of a combine harvester in Bathinda, who did not want to be named.
Farm organisation BKU Ekta Ugrahan general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said fitting the system is not a permanent solution to the vexed problem. “We will not allow any official to impound combines without SMS and if anyone goes ahead we will lay siege to the officials,” he said. If the state government is serious about solving the problem, it should provide bonus of Rs 200 per quintal on paddy or compensation of Rs 6,000 per acre and farmers will make alternate arrangements and not burn stubble, he added.
Manmohan Kalia, the state’s nodal officer for fitting SMS on combines, said many owners were coming forward to get super SMS fitted to their machines. “We hope nearly 6,000 combines will be fitted during this season as the state government is providing lucrative subsidy. Only a few combine owners are not ready for it,” he said.
Not many farmers are ready to get SMS fitted on their combines and many of those who purchase new combines also do not want the device, according to combines manufacturers’ association general secretary Amar Singh.