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Punjab Govt Aims to Reduce Paddy Stubble Burning by 50% in 2023
The Punjab Government has assured to take all necessary steps to achieve significant reduction in stubble burning incidents. The State Action Plan aims to eliminate paddy stubble burning cases this year in six districts: Hoshiarpur, Malerkotla, Pathankot, Rupnagar, SAS Nagar (Mohali), and SBS Nagar
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The Punjab Government has assured to take all necessary steps to achieve significant reduction in stubble burning incidents. The State Action Plan aims to eliminate paddy stubble burning cases this year in six districts: Hoshiarpur, Malerkotla, Pathankot, Rupnagar, SAS Nagar (Mohali), and SBS Nagar.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has reviewed the preparedness of the Punjab Government to reduce paddy stubble burning during the current paddy harvesting season.
The State Action Plan envisages at least 50 per cent reduction in fire counts in Punjab during 2023 compared to last year.
The State Action Plan of Punjab estimates that the total area under paddy is about 31 lakh hectares and paddy straw generation is expected to be around 20 Million Tonnes (MT) this year. The state envisages to manage around 11.5 MT of paddy straw through in-situ management and about 4.67 MT of paddy straw through ex-situ management. Sizable quantity of straw will also be used as cattle fodder.
The CAQM has asked for a detailed mapping of the available Crop Residue Management (CRM) machines and their optimal utilization and availability, particularly for small/marginal farmers. Punjab currently has 1,17,672 CRM Machines and around 23,792 Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) have been established in Punjab.
The state has further planned to procure more than 23,000 machines during 2023. Mobile apps like i-Khet (for facilitating farmers to have access to the agriculture machinery/ equipment for in-situ management of crop residue), and “Cooperative Machinery Tracker” are in place to ensure availability of CRM machines.
In ex-situ management, the paddy straw generated is to be used in Briquetting/ Pelleting plants as Punjab government has issued notifications u/s 5 of Environment (Protection) Act for mandatory co-firing of 20 per cent coal with paddy straw based pellets in Brick Kiln w.e.f. 01.05.2023, and Bio-ethanol plants, Biomass-based power plants, CBG Plants, Cardboard factories etc.
The state Government has also identified land parcels for enhancing straw storage capacity. In the review meeting held on 21 September, 2023, DCs of Punjab assured that mechanisms are in place towards management of straw in their respective districts through in-situ and ex-situ management. State Govt. plans application of Bio Decomposer in 8,000 acres of paddy area.
Various IEC activities are being conducted in Punjab to spread awareness towards substantial reduction of paddy residue burning during the current harvesting season.
IEC activities include painting of walls in the villages with slogans, print media advertisements, hoardings and panels at prominent places, publicity/ awareness message in the villages, awareness/ educative programs in schools, pamphlets and leaflets to farmers, awareness Jingles on Radio Channels, display boards, etc. Progressive farmers will also be felicitated and asked to sensitize other farmers to ensure ‘no burning’ of paddy straw.
As per the data of 2022, the five districts of Punjab where maximum crop burning incidents reported were Sangrur, Bathinda, Firozpur, Muktasar and Moga, which recorded about 44 per cent of total fire counts of State.