Rain delays stubble burning in Punjab as specialists grope for options

Rain delays stubble burning in Punjab as specialists grope for options


CHANDIGARH: Burning of crop residue, a customary apply by Punjab and Haryana paddy growers that results in an estimated financial lack of over $30 billion yearly, apart from being a number one danger issue for acute respiratory an infection, particularly amongst kids, has picked up after a delay owing to excessive crop moisture.

As per the Ludhiana-based Punjab Distant Sensing Centre, 96 energetic hearth incidents have been reported in Punjab on October 20, a steep fall from 950 on at the present time in 2020 and 788 in 2021. A complete of two,721 incidents have been reported in Punjab until October 20.

The rationale for fewer crop hearth incidents is widespread rainfall previously week that delayed the crop maturity and its harvesting owing to elevated moisture.

Smoke from the burning of residue in Punjab and Haryana contributes to Delhi’s poor air, growing three-fold the chance of acute respiratory an infection for these residing in districts with intense crop burning.

9 out of twenty-two districts in Punjab and 4 out of twenty-two districts in Haryana are main contributors to stubble burning in these states.

Gurmit Gill, a farmer of Ludhiana, instructed IANS, “Two spells of heavy rainfall within the final one month has delayed the maturing of the crop. The harvest has been delayed by at the least 10-15 days because the crop moisture content material was as excessive as 25 per cent. Now it’s regular. Farmers in our space have simply began harvesting.”

Based on specialists, the delay within the onset of harvesting means farmers haven’t any choice to dispose off the crop residue scientifically and lack of markets for biomass residues. They must burn it within the fields as they plant a number of crops in the course of the yr.

Usually, the paddy harvest needs to be over by October 25 and subsequently wheat cultivation is to start.

Agriculture division officers anticipate a peak of two,000-4,000 farm fires a day by the tip of this month in Punjab. A complete of two,721 hearth incidents have been reported within the state until October 20.

The state authorities has devised scientific mechanisms to curb the menace by optimising using machines for in-situ administration of stubble and establishing compressed bio fuel (CBG) to scale back open burning.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has been exhorting the farmers to chorus from burning paddy straw. In an extra step, India’s largest bio power plant was commissioned on October 18 in Sangrur at an outlay of Rs 230 crore.

The plant, arrange by Verbio India Personal Ltd, will devour 100,000 tons of paddy straw, which will probably be procured from six-eight satellite tv for pc places inside a 10-km radius of the plant.

There will probably be each day manufacturing of about 600-650 tons of fermented natural manure, which can be utilized for natural farming.

Union Minister of Petroleum Hardeep Puri, who was on the inauguration of the CBG plant, mentioned it might scale back stubble burning over 40,000-45,000 acres, translating into an annual discount of 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

However specialists say extra such excessive capital-intensive vegetation are required in Punjab to free it from the burning difficulty. “One CBG plant for a state that yearly generates 20 million tons of paddy straw will probably be like searching for a needle in a haystack,” remarked an professional, including “In fact, it’s a good starting. The state ought to encourage extra personal funding as stubble could be a boon for the farmers.”

Crop residues might be recycled and made productive in a number of methods, akin to utilizing residues as floor cowl, soil amendments like mulch or compost, and animal feed.

Residues can be utilized in power era and within the manufacturing of supplies akin to boards, paper merchandise and bioplastics. Nevertheless, a serious barrier is the dearth of an environment friendly and cost-effective worth chain of transportation, and storage. This leads to excessive prices and supreme waste of the biomass.

Farm specialists blame the federal government for its coverage flaw in shifting the paddy transplanting interval that led to a leap in stubble burning incidents.

For the federal government, figuring out that the water desk was getting depleted, one believable coverage response to scale back over exploitation of groundwater was to dispose of the short-duration crops, cultivated in April-Might, and to delay the sowing of paddy.

Punjab launched the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act in 2009, banning sowing nursery of paddy and transplanting paddy earlier than the notified dates.

The Act shifted the date of paddy transplanting from June 1 to June 20. The earlier Congress authorities superior it to June 13. A delay in transplanting by roughly a fortnight saved Punjab 2,000 billion litres of water.

However the shift in paddy transplanting by a fortnight delayed the harvest, that means the stubble burning coincided with the interval when motion of air over the Delhi NCR stays subdued, an professional defined to IANS.

The CII runs a crop residue administration program in Punjab and Haryana to mitigate stubble burning to scale back air air pollution.

The mission was operational in 226 villages masking 200,000 acres of farmland final season. By way of the mission interventions, stubble burning was diminished by 84 per cent within the intervened lands.

This season the mission has been scaled as much as 300 villages masking 300,000 acres of farmland. Indian Oil has not too long ago partnered with the CII and is supporting this system in 9 villages of Sangrur, masking 7,000 acres of farmland by way of its Challenge Vayu.

“Not solely is the CII Basis serving to scale back the air pollution in villages, however the soil can also be changing into extra fertile and richer in vitamins and minerals akin to phosphorus. We hope it’ll additional proceed to enhance over the following few years,” mentioned Jagdish Singh of Mungo village in Patiala.

For the long-term answer to the burning difficulty, specialists have burdened on the necessity to diversify the cropping sample, shifting away from water-guzzling paddy to different crops, together with maize.

Punjab did attempt to push in sunflower and maize to exchange paddy, however in a half-hearted method, and the experiments failed.

A paper by The Vitality Useful resource Institute (TERI) says crop rotation must be re-evaluated by encouraging farmers to different cropping cycles moderately than the rice-wheat cropping system.

‘A Fiscally Accountable Inexperienced Stimulus’ by TERI suggests utilisation of crop residue in energy vegetation.

Making the crop waste a commodity with a value that offers farmers a margin over the fee to drag out the crop residue would put an finish to the burning of the crop residue within the fields.

The Supreme Court docket had advised as a lot throughout hearings on the air air pollution disaster final yr. The crop waste can be utilized for worth addition by way of densification of residues into briquettes.

These pellets can be utilized in industrial boilers for course of warmth. They will also be utilized by thermal energy vegetation for energy era by including it to coal. The Nationwide Thermal Energy Company (NTPC) has proven that as much as 10 per cent crop waste briquettes might be efficiently blended with coal, permitting co-firing in energy vegetation.

The NTPC, which procured pellets by way of open tenders, additionally discovered that the price of pellets was related when it comes to calorific worth to that of the coal they have been utilizing. Therefore, the price of energy era didn’t go up when coal was changed to the extent of 10 per cent by pellets produced from crop waste; a renewable supply.

A research on the Worldwide Meals Coverage Analysis Institute (IFPRI) and its companion institutes estimates the financial value of publicity to air air pollution from crop residue burning at $30 billion, or almost Rs 2 lakh crore yearly, for the three northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.



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