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Air Pollution In Delhi: Punjab, Haryana To Bank On More Machines, Biomass Plants To Reduce Stubble Burning

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, stubble burning contributed significantly to air pollution in Delhi last year with the share of farm fire smoke in particulate matter peaking to 44 per cent in November

Air Pollution In Delhi Punjab, Haryana To Bank On More Machines, Biomass Plants To Reduce Stubble Burning
Highlights
  • In 2019, Punjab produced around 20 million tonnes paddy residue
  • In 2019, farmers in Punjab burnt 9.8 million tonnes of paddy residue
  • Haryana produced 7 million tonnes of paddy residue, burnt 1.23 MT of it

New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana governments have submitted to a Supreme Court-mandated panel their action plans to check stubble burning — a major contributor to extreme levels of air pollution that choke the national capital in winters. The states have proposed setting up more custom hiring centres (CHCs) to give farm machinery on rental basis to farmers who cannot afford to purchase the high-end equipment for crop residue management and supplying more balers — a machine used to compress stubble into compact bales.

Also Read: Stubble Burning In Punjab May Worsen Air Quality

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, stubble burning contributed significantly to air pollution in Delhi last year with the share of farm fire smoke in particulate matter peaking to 44 per cent in November. The Punjab government has told the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) that it has been utilising crop residue through biomass-based power plants and various bio-CNG projects are under process. The state has now proposed to set up a 25-megawatt solar-biomass project.

As the existing high price of electricity from biomass plants is unattractive for power utilities and distribution companies, a scheme for combining solar with biomass has been proposed. It will reduce the price of electricity generated, it told the EPCA.

Also Read: Air Pollution Due To Stubble Burning: Punjab Records 25 Per Cent Increase In Farm Fires, No Challan Issued

Punjab has already set up 7,378 CHCs. The state will establish 5,200 more CHCs this year to accomplish the target of having one CHC in each village. The administration will provide 220 balers this year, according to the EPCA. Farmers sell bales to nearby factories, mainly biomass plants, at around Rs 120 per quintal. Till now, the state has provided 50,185 farm machines to CHCs and individuals.

The state has also launched a mobile application to help farmers rent machinery to manage crop residue. In 2019, the Punjab government doled out incentives worth Rs 28.51 crore to farmers to cover the cost of diesel used in high-end machinery. This year, the state government has sought from the Centre, saying it will not be able to pay on its own. Last year, Punjab produced around 20 million tonnes paddy residue. Farmers burnt 9.8 million tonnes of it. These figures will be used as a benchmark for the state’s performance this year.

Also Read: Documents Ready For Smog Tower Installation Project In Delhi, Centre Informs The Supreme Court

The Haryana government told EPCA that a committee has been set up to look into the progress of bio-CNG and bio-ethanol projects and biomass plants to manage crop residue. The state has set up 2,879 CHCs and 2,000 more will be established by October. As many as 791 balers will be supplied by the time harvesting starts. Haryana has deployed 24,705 machines, of which 8,777 are owned by individuals and the rest are with CHCs.

A mobile application is being promoted for providing machinery on rent to farmers. The state has already launched Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana, a scheme for promoting cultivation of vegetables. Around 1,09,000 hectares of land has already been diverted from paddy to other crops such as maize, millet and cotton.

Also Read: Air Pollution: Nitrogen Dioxide Levels Fell By More Than 70 Per Cent During COVID-19 Lockdown In New Delhi, Says United Nations

Last year, Haryana produced 7 million tonnes of paddy residue, of which farmers burnt 1.23 million tonnes. The northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh attract attention during the paddy harvesting season between October 15 and November 15. Farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue left behind after harvesting and before cultivating wheat and potato. It is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it as there is a short window between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat. The high cost of manual or mechanical management of straw is a major reason why farmers choose to burn it. State governments are providing 50 to 80 per cent subsidy to farmers and cooperative societies to buy modern farm equipment for in-situ management of paddy straw, installing paddy straw-based power plants and running a massive awareness campaign against stubble burning. But these measures are yet to make any significant impact on the ground.

Also Read: Air Pollution Affects Health Of 82.2 Per Cent People Out Of 1757: Survey

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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World

24,20,23,922Cases
20,36,06,535Active
3,34,95,808Recovered
49,21,579Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,20,23,922 and 49,21,579 have died; 20,36,06,535 are active cases and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 4:33 am.

India

3,41,27,450 18,454Cases
1,78,831 733Active
3,34,95,808 17,561Recovered
4,52,811 160Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,27,450 confirmed cases including 4,52,811 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,78,831 and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,96,645 1,825

29,333 1,075

64,27,426 2,879

1,39,886 21

Kerala

48,79,790 11,150

83,333 2,476

47,69,373 8,592

27,084 82

Karnataka

29,84,484 462

9,103 26

29,37,405 479

37,976 9

Tamil Nadu

26,90,633 1,170

14,058 268

26,40,627 1,418

35,948 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,61,810 523

5,566 88

20,41,924 608

14,320 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,058 11

112 6

16,87,048 17

22,898

West Bengal

15,82,813 867

7,491 63

15,56,315 795

19,007 9

Delhi

14,39,466 25

310 12

14,14,066 37

25,090

Odisha

10,36,532 559

4,387 106

10,23,849 451

8,296 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,735 34

185 3

9,91,979 36

13,571 1

Rajasthan

9,54,393 1

38 0

9,45,401 1

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,340 14

176 9

8,16,077 22

10,087 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,709 9

82 3

7,82,104 6

10,523

Haryana

7,71,116 15

133 7

7,60,934 8

10,049

Bihar

7,26,036 3

30 12

7,16,345 15

9,661

Telangana

6,69,556 191

3,968 28

6,61,646 162

3,942 1

Assam

6,07,427 308

3,610 25

5,97,859 282

5,958 1

Punjab

6,02,113 32

232 16

5,85,331 15

16,550 1

Jharkhand

3,48,486 25

142 14

3,43,209 11

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,773 8

176 1

3,36,199 6

7,398 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,299 78

800 3

3,26,070 80

4,429 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,936 110

1,394 46

2,16,815 64

3,727

Goa

1,77,706 47

597 23

1,73,755 70

3,354

Puducherry

1,27,521 42

461 29

1,25,208 71

1,852

Manipur

1,22,970 71

1,360 2

1,19,706 66

1,904 3

Mizoram

1,15,207 741

10,263 505

1,04,548 1,243

396 3

Tripura

84,351 2

95 7

83,440 9

816

Meghalaya

83,158 79

761 21

80,958 58

1,439

Chandigarh

65,312 2

24 1

64,468 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,043 12

138 7

54,625 19

280

Sikkim

31,800 17

175 6

31,232 22

393 1

Nagaland

31,659 18

255 8

30,728 10

676

Ladakh

20,886 3

34 0

20,644 3

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676

2 2

10,670 2

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

7 1

7,510 1

129

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