Stubble burning: Bhupendra Yadav says states cooperating constructively
Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav said on Sunday that the Centre received constructive cooperation from four northern states- Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the issue of stubble burning. His remark came a month after he held an important meeting with the governments of these states regarding the action plan to reduce air pollution caused due to stubble burning.
Speaking to reporters, Yadav said that talks were held in September over the implementation of action plans by Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to reduce pollution due to stubble burning and other factors including vehicular pollution, dust, construction and demolition waste. The environment minister added that with regard to the machinery needed to deal with stubble burning, the Union agriculture ministry allocated nearly ₹7,000 crores to these states.
Farmers from Haryana and Punjab and some other states set their farmlands on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue left after harvesting and before cultivating crops such as wheat and potato.
While farmers in Delhi burn only 1% of stubble, the smoke from stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab contributes majorly to the air pollution in the national Capital and the NCR region during winters. In Delhi, the government has come up with solutions such as the odd-even system for private vehicles on roads and issuing restrictions on construction activities to ensure the air quality doesn’t degrade.
Bhupendra Yadav told reporters on Sunday that with the availability of technology, there is the economic viability of stubble at present. He said the NTPC previously floated a tender to purchase farm stubble for use as fuel at power plants. Some private organisations too came up with experiments by which stubble or crop residue can be turned into manure, Yadav also said.
Last week, the Delhi government developed a bio-decomposer solution in association with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, to combat stubble burning in the national capital. Once sprayed into the farmlands, the solution decomposes the stubble into compost in 15-20 days.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on September 24 that the solution costs less than ₹1,000 per acre and it will be entirely borne by the government. He also urged neighbouring Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to support their farmers by providing them with the bio-decomposer solution.
(With PTI inputs)