New Delhi: The central government has said a one-time financial assistance will be given to individuals and companies to set up torrefaction and pelletisation plants to ensure a regular supply of paddy straw for co-firing in thermal power plants and industries. The setting up of these plants will help resolve the problem of stubble burning and generate income for farmers, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said at a workshop on “Guidelines for grant of one-time financial support for establishment of pelletisation and torrefaction plants to promote utilisation of paddy straw” on Thursday (October 13).
Along with unfavourable meteorological conditions, paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is a major reason behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November. Farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato.
Also Read: Stubble Burning: More Than 700 Farm Fires Recorded In Punjab
While pelletisation means converting paddy straw into pellets which can be used in thermal power plants and industries as fuel, torrefaction is a process to improve physical properties and chemical composition of biomass.
According to government data, Punjab and Haryana generate around 27 million tonnes of paddy straw a year, of which around 6.4 million tonnes is not managed.
To address the issue of air pollution and to reduce the carbon footprint of thermal power plants and industries, the government had earlier mandated co-firing of 5 to 10 per cent of biomass along with coal. Though there is a demand for biomass by power plants, “the supply is on the lower side due to slow/limited growth of aggregators/suppliers”, the government noted.
Therefore, there is a need to facilitate setting up of pelletisation plants so that paddy straw is utilised and the issue of crop burning and pollution is further addressed, read the guidelines prepared by the Union Environment Ministry.
Financial support of Rs 14 lakh per tonne per hour plant production capacity (subject to a maximum of Rs 70 lakh per proposal) will be given for setting up new pelletisation units, according to the guidelines. Rs 28 lakh per tonne per hour plant production capacity will be provided for torrefaction plants, subject to a total financial support of Rs 1.4 crore per proposal.
The government has earmarked Rs 50 crore for utilisation under the guidelines. The financial assistance can be availed by individuals and companies setting up new plants and units using only paddy straw generated in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, and NCR districts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Also Read: Here’s How A Waste Warrior From Nagpur Is Saving 1,000 Trees Every Month And Preventing Stubble Burning
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth