26 Sep 2020: Stubble burning: Kejriwal approaches Centre over IARI's new tech
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to the Centre over the issue of stubble burning, which poses a recurring headache for people in parts of North India, particularly the national capital.
Kejriwal drew the Centre's attention to a new technology developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-IARI).
Here are more details.
Details: Kejriwal approaches Centre over IARI's 'Pusa Decomposer'
Kejriwal on Saturday wrote to Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar over the use of IARI's technology in Delhi and the neighboring states.
IARI had earlier announced the 'Pusa Decomposer' which can reduce the decomposition time of paddy straw from 45 days to 25 days. It uses eight strains of fungi packed into four capsules.
Stubble burning: What is stubble burning?
Stubble burning is a phenomenon prevalent in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. It involves the burning of stubble (stalks) after harvest.
Earlier, when farmers plowed the fields manually, they would till plant debris back into the soil.
However, with the advent of mechanical harvesters, burning became popular as it is the quickest way to clear them.
Fact: Stubble burning release large amounts of smoke; causes pollution
Stubble burning starts with the onset of winter. The large number of fires send smoke up into the atmosphere which blankets parts of North India in dense smog. Combined with Delhi's already polluted climate, this phenomenon leads to toxic levels of air pollution.
Letter: IARI's tech can convert stubble into fertilizer: Kejriwal
In the letter, Kejriwal highlighted that stubble burning is about to become a serious concern in a matter of days.
Hence, he brought to Javadekar's attention the IARI's technology which, the Delhi CM believes, could be a "good solution for the smoke generated by the stubble burning."
"They have created a chemical that can be sprayed in farms to convert stubble into fertilizer."
Advantages: What are the advantages of IARI's tech?
Kejriwal said the decomposed stubble will reduce the requirement of additional fertilizer, and increase the yield.
"Scientists say burning the stubble also destroys the helpful microbes present in the soil, which reduces soil fertility," he noted.
Compared to machines being used to shred the stubble, which would be expensive despite the government subsidy, the IARI's tech would cost less, Kejriwal said.
Fact: "With IARI method, farmers' expenditure would be nominal'
"With the IARI method, farmers' expenditure would be nominal. If you factor in the reduced fertilizer usage and the increased yield, this method would result in net profits," he said, adding that Delhi is hoping to use this method on a large scale this year.
Recent developments: 297 stubble burning incidents reported in Punjab this week
In recent days, instances of stubble burning have been observed in Punjab.
Dr. Brijender Pateriya, the Director of Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, told ANI, "297 stubble burning incidents were reported between September 21 and 25 this year in Punjab. 197 such incidents were reported during this period last year."
"Maximum incidents were reported from Amritsar, Tarn Taran, and Patiala."
Quote: Do not wish to burn stubble; we are compelled: Farmer
Justifying his decision to burn the stubble, a Punjab farmer told ANI, "Farmers do not wish to burn the stubble, but we are compelled to do so as the government is not providing us with a solution."
"We asked the district administration to take it and dump it, but they did not take any action. So, finally, after 10 days, we burnt it."