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‘Appropriate & cost-effective technology vital to curb stubble burning’

The quest for implementable solutions to stubble burning and the attendant atmospheric pollution will require the key stakeholders – farmers, industry and government- to work in tandem, CK Mishra, Secretary, MoEF&CC, said

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Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), CK Mishra, today underlined the need to make the farmers the centrepiece of solutions to the problem of farm stubble burning by giving them a choice of technology and resource base that is acceptable and cost- effective.

Speaking at the conference on ‘Curbing Stubble Burning: Making Solutions Work’ organised by FICCI in New Delhi, Mishra said, “The quest for implementable solutions to stubble burning and the attendant atmospheric pollution will require the key stakeholders – farmers, industry and government- to work in tandem. The government would have to set up demonstration projects to convince the farmers of the need to do away with stubble burning, industry would need to step up production of machines and implements acceptable to the farmers and the technological solutions will have to be home-grown through vigorous research and innovation.”

Mishra emphasised the need to understand the problem from the farmer’s perspective. The pollution-impact of stubble burning was far less impressionable to the farmer than the price he gets for his produce. The need, therefore, was to zero in on a few solutions that be implemented on the ground.

Kolluru Krishan, Chair, FICCI Climate Change Committee and Chairman, CVC India Infrastructure, said, “Stubble burning would stop when the farming community adopts the solution as a choice.” In this context, he called for sensitisation of the community and widespread capacity building. Farm waste management, he added, required partnership between corporates and MSMEs as large corporates cannot effectively manage farm waste generated by 135 million farm households. The need was for decentralised management of farm waste as well as decentralised energy generation, under the ‘Green Entrepreneurs’ framework. He also highlighted the supply side constraint of equipment and machinery and how manufacturing within India could also be enhanced once the solutions become viable.

Jasbir Singh Awla, Chair, FICCI Bioenergy Committee and Managing Director, Sukhbir Agro Energy, said that Punjab, eastern UP and other paddy producing states generate 30 million tonnes of paddy straw. Owing to high silica content, paddy straw cannot be used as fodder and there is pressure on the farmers to clear the fields within 20 days to make the land suitable for wheat sowing. He called for government incentives to make heavy-duty machines such as fork lifters to clear the stubble. 

Harbhajan Singh, Independent Director, Sukhbir Agro Energy and Member, FICCI Bioenergy Committee, urged the government to new technological solutions as the experiments for use of paddy straw for generation of energy have not worked because of the high silica content. He said bankability of such projects was an area of concern and hoped that imported technology could help find a solution.

The conference deliberated on three key topics of ‘Management of Crop Residues to Curb Stubble Burning’, ‘End-Use Options for Advanced Technologies for Optimal Utilisation of Agri Residue and “Enabling Framework for Implementation of Solutions’.

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