BATHINDA: Union minister for Agriculture and farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday called upon the state governments of Punjab
, Uttar Pradesh
and NCT of Delhi to strive for achieving zero stubble burning in very near future. He promised central help to achieve this mission adding that this is a kind of curse on these states, as they receive a lot of public ire due to negative media publicity.
In a release on Wednesday Tomar said, Rs 600 crore was already provided to the states this financial year and they have the unspent amount of Rs 300 crore, which should be utilized properly. Moreover, about two lakh machines have been made available to the states. The Minister said, the centre and the concerned states should jointly evolve a long-term planning and must undertake multi-pronged activities to achieve the target of zero stubble burning within a specified time-frame.
Tomar was holding a high-level review meeting with the officials of state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi on the actions taken/proposed to be taken by the state governments for management of stubble burring during 2022 season.
Tomar told the officials to strengthen and widen the IEC activities to make aware the farmers that stubble burning leads to loss of soil fertility in the long run, like the overuse of urea. He urged the officials to make arrangements to take the farmers to the sites, where the Pusa Decomposer developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is being used for practical demonstrations.
It has been informed that union agriculture ministry is continuing the implementation of the central scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’ during 2022-23 with an outlay of Rs. 700 crore. So far Rs. 240 crore, Rs. 191.53 crore, Rs. 154.29 crore and Rs. 14.18 crore have been released to the state of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and ICAR, respectively as first installment. During the current year, provisions have also been incorporated to promote the use of bio-decomposer technology on large scale in these states.
The scheme was introduced in 2018-19, with the aim of addressing air pollution in Delhi and National Capital Region due to stubble burning in the adjoining states and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue. Under this scheme financial assistance for purchase of crop residue management machines is provided at 50% of the cost to individual farmers and at 80% of the project cost to cooperative societies of farmers, PFOs and Panchayats for establishment of Custom Hiring Centres of Crop Residue Management Machines. Funds are also provided to the states and ICAR for undertaking Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities for mass awareness of farmers and other stakeholders.
The scheme promote the usage of machines such as Super Straw Management Systems, Happy Seeder, Super Seeder, zero till seed cum fertilizer drill, Mulcher, Paddy Straw Chopper, hydraulically reversible mould board plough, Crop reapers and Reaper binders for in-situ management of crop residue and Balers & Rakes which are used for straw collection in the form of bales for other ex-situ uses of straw. Smart Seeder machine has been newly added for promotion under the scheme.
During the period from 2018-19 to 2021-22, the funds amounting to Rs 2440.07 crore have been released with major share of Rs 1147.62 crore to Punjab followed by Rs. 693.25 crore to Haryana, Rs. 533.67 crore to UP, Rs 4.52 crore to NCT of Delhi and Rs 61.01 crore to ICAR and other Central Agencies.
Out of these funds released in last 4 years, the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi have established 38422 Custom Hiring Centres of crop residue management machinery to provide machines and equipment to the small and marginal farmers on rental basis with 24201 in Punjab, 6775 in Haryana and 7446 in Uttar Pradesh. A total of more than 2.07 lakh crop residue management machines have been supplied to these established CHCs and to the individual farmers in these 4 states with 89151 in Punjab, 59107 in Haryana, 58708 in Uttar Pradesh and 247 in NCT of Delhi which also include 3243 Balers and Rakes.
Pusa Decomposer, a microbial consortium of fungal species (both in liquid and capsule forms) developed by ICAR has been found effective for rapid in-situ decomposition of paddy straw. During the year 2021, decomposer has been used in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi in around 5.7 lakh hectare area which is equivalent to about 3.5 million tonne of straw managed. Through satellite imaging and monitoring, it was observed that the 92% area of the decomposer sprayed plots has been managed through decomposition and only 8% area in these plots was burned.
The minister directed that for effective control of paddy stubble burning during the ensuing season, the states should chalk out a comprehensive action plan at micro level, establish a mechanism to ensure effective utilization of machines, promote use of bio-decomposer in a complimentary mode with the CRM machines, promote ex-situ utilization of straw by way of mapping demand from adjoining industries like biomass based power plants, bioethanol plants and take up mass awareness among farmers through intensive campaigns in media as well as through Kisan Melas, publications, seminars, advisories with the involvement of all stakeholders in this sector.