Patiala, October 20: A WhatsApp chatbot has been launched in Patiala district to help reduce rising farm fires. The chatbot, which can be reached at 7380016070, has been receiving an encouraging response from farmers, with over 300 calls being received daily.
The chatbot is equipped to answer farmers’ queries about ex situ stubble management machinery, which can help them to dispose of crop residue in a more eco-friendly manner. The district administration has also deployed nodal officers in all 935 villages to guide farmers and provide assistance with stubble management.
In addition, the administration has put 125 crop residue management (CRM) machines into service, which can be used to bale, chop, or mulch crop residue. These machines are being offered to farmers free of cost, which is helping to increase uptake and reduce the number of farm fires.
Rakesh Garg, the nodal officer of the stubble management initiative, said that the chatbot is the first of its kind in the country and has been attracting the attention of other regions facing similar challenges.