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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Rs 100-crore project to tackle crop burning gets green ministry nod

A release from the environment ministry blamed growing mechanisation, declining livestock and lack of a feasible alternative in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan for the growing problem of crop burning.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2017 23:40 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Over 50,000 cases of crop burning were reported from Punjab and Haryana this kharif season.
Over 50,000 cases of crop burning were reported from Punjab and Haryana this kharif season.(Burhaan Kinu/HT File)
         

The Union environment ministry on Thursday approved a Rs 100-crore project to tackle crop burning in northern states, a phenomenon that purportedly escalates pollution in the national capital region during winter months.

The project will receive funding under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC), leveraging about three times the approved amount from states and farmers.

A release from the environment ministry blamed growing mechanisation, declining livestock and lack of a feasible alternative in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan for the growing problem of crop burning. Over 50,000 cases were reported from Punjab and Haryana this kharif season.

“Crop burning not only causes global warming but also has an adverse impact on air purity, soil quality and human health,” the release said.

The regional project will be implemented in a phased manner, starting with awareness and capacity building activities. It will also facilitate the adoption of technological solutions to dispose of crop residue in an eco-friendly manner.

“The scope will be enhanced, with more activities being undertaken on the basis of progress achieved in the first phase,” said environment secretary CK Mishra.

The Centre established the NAFCC in 2015 to fund projects aimed at helping communities adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. It had a budgetary provision of Rs 350 crore for 2015-16 and 2016-17, and Rs 181.5 crore for 2017-18.

In a report tabled in Parliament this month, the comptroller and auditor general criticised the government for channelling funds from the clean energy cess – meant for research and development on clean energy technologies – to the Consolidated Fund of India for other projects.

Although nearly Rs 54,000 crore was collected as clean energy cess between 2010-11 and 2016-17, only 15,483.21 crore (28.69%) was transferred to the national clean energy fund.

The government – in a separate submission – estimated that meeting its Paris climate agreement goals would cost as much as $2.5 trillion. It further held that the United States’ decision to withdraw from the treaty would affect the availability of international climate change finance.

First Published: Dec 28, 2017 22:58 IST