Chandigarh, Dec 18 (PTI) In an initiative to cut down stubble burning and reduce environmental pollution, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday virtually inaugurated a paddy straw briquetting plant in Patiala.
The plant has a briquetting capacity of 100 tonnes per day.
Calling it an overdue initiative, the chief minister said the new technology will not only help check environmental pollution through utilisation of paddy straw in the state but will also enable farmers earn extra income from the sale of stubble.
He expressed confidence that more such plants would come up in the future to tackle Punjab's stubble burning problem.
Further, with crude oil getting costlier, this is a viable source of energy, he said.
The briquetting process is the conversion of agricultural waste into uniformly shaped briquettes that are easy to use, transport and store.
The plant has been set up at village Kulburchan in Patiala district, at a capital cost of Rs 5.50 crore, by Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) in collaboration with private partner Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. It has the support of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, under the Climate Change Action Programme.
He lauded that the efforts of scientists, farmers and farm equipment manufacturers to make India self-reliant in food production. Amarinder also said that with this new technological intervention, paddy straw from around 40 villages in the plants' vicinity will be converted to green fuel.
'Not only will this help in checking environmental pollution, which has become more dangerous amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it will also help minimise the resultant health hazards,' he added.
The plant will utilise 45,000 tonne of paddy straw and would help replace fossil fuel in industries, resulting in carbon footprint reduction to the tune of 78,000 tonne of carbon dioxide.
Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan welcomed the establishment of the plant as an important initiative by the state government to check the menace of paddy burning in the fields.
She expressed confidence that successful commercialisation of such technological interventions will pave the way for their replication not only across the state but the entire country.
A predominantly agricultural state, Punjab generates huge quantities of agri-residue, and while wheat straw gets consumed as fodder, the management of paddy straw is a major challenge for the state, said the chief secretary. PTI SUN HRS