Agriculture Department calls on states to develop action plan
The Union Ministry of Agriculture has called on state officials to develop a comprehensive micro-level action plan for effective control of paddy stubble burning in the coming season. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, attended an agricultural demonstration on crop residue management at Rangian village in Kharar tehsil, Distt SAS Nagar, Punjab and interacted with Farmers.
The goals of the crop residue management (CRM) system include protecting the environment from air pollution and preventing the loss of nutrients and soil microorganisms caused by the burning of crop residues , according to a government press release. It also included the promotion of crop residue management by retention/incorporation into soil or collection for later use through the use of appropriate mechanization inputs; promote agricultural machinery banks for the tailor-made rental of crop residue management machinery to offset the negative economies of scale resulting from small land ownership and high cost of individual ownership.
Another objective was to raise awareness among stakeholders through demonstration activities, capacity building and differentiated information, education and communication strategies for effective use and management of crop residues. To support the efforts of the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi to combat air pollution caused by stubble burning and to subsidize machinery needed for tailings management a central sector program on crop residue management (CRM) was introduced starting in 2018-19.
Under this program, financial assistance of 50% is provided to farmers for the purchase of crop residue management machinery and 80% is provided to Cooperative Societies, FPOs and Panchayats for the establishment of crop residue management centers. Personalized Hiring (CHC). The program encourages the use of machinery such as Super Straw Management Systems, Happy Seeder, Super Seeder, Smart Seeder, No-Till Fertilizer Seeder, Mulcher, Paddy Straw Chopper, Hydraulically Reversible Moldboard Plow, Reaper Harvesters and Binders for in – the in situ management of crop residues and the presses and rakes which are used for the collection of straw in the form of bales for other ex situ uses of the straw. During the period of 2018-19 to 2021-22, Rs. 2440.07 crores (Punjab – Rs. 1147.62 crores, Haryana – Rs. 693.25 crores, Uttar Pradesh – Rs. 533.67 crores, NCT of Delhi – Rs. 4.52 Crores and ICAR – Rs. 61.01 Crores) were released.
During the current year, so far, a number of rupees. 240.00 crores, Rs. 191.53 crores, Rs. 154.29 crores and rupees. 14.18 crores have already been released in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and ICAR respectively. The total funds available from the States and ICAR for use in 2022-23, including the unspent balance from last year, is Rs. 916 Crores. Over the past 4 years, the states have distributed over 2.07 lakh machines to individual farmers and over 38,000 CSCs in these 4 states, which also include over 3,243 balers and rakes which are in use for the ex situ collection of straw.
Pusa Decomposer, a microbial consortium of fungal species (both liquid and capsule form) developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been shown to be effective in the rapid in situ decomposition of straw from paddy, the press release adds. In the year 2021, the decomposer has been used in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi on an area of about 5.7 lakh hectare which is equivalent to approximately 3.5 million tonnes of straw managed. Through imagery and satellite monitoring, it was observed that 92% of the surface of the decomposer pulverized plots was managed by decomposition and only 8% of the surface of these plots was burned.
To promote the use of biodecomposer technology, the CRM Program Operational Guidelines were revised in August 2022 and provision was made to conduct large-scale demonstrations of biodecomposers on farmers’ fields using flexible funds in the framework of the scheme. A total of 82,533 burning events were detected across the three states between September 15, 2021 and November 30, 2021, broken down into 71,304, 6,987 and 4,242 in Punjab, Haryana and UP respectively. The total number of recorded burning events in these three states is 7.71% lower than in 2020. Punjab recorded a reduction of 9.85pc, Haryana recorded an increase of 23.05pc and the UP recorded a reduction of 8.95 pc.
Likhi pointed out that for effective control of paddy stubble burning in the next season, states should develop a comprehensive micro-level action plan, establish a mechanism to ensure efficient use of machinery, promote the use of the bio-decomposer in complementary mode with CRM machines, promote the ex-situ use of straw by mapping the demand of neighboring industries such as biomass-based power plants, bioethanol plants, etc. /written press, social media as well as through Kisan Melas, publications, seminars and opinions with the involvement of all players in this sector. He further added that if all measures are taken at the state level holistically, stubble burning can be effectively controlled in the coming season. (ANI)
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