LONG BATTLE Haryana set a target to provide 5,563 agriculture implements to farmers to discourage crop residue burning
NEW DELHI/GURUGRAM: The Haryana government on Thursday told a Supreme Court-appointed environmental panel that it has been able to meet nearly 80% of the target the state had set to provide agricultural implements to farmers to control the practice of stubble burning.
HT FILEn Stubble burning across north India contributes to nearly 17% of PM10 pollution and 19% of the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi and NCR towns, studies have found.The information is welcome news for Delhi residents as only a few weeks remain before farmers in Haryana and Punjab start burning stubble. Recent studies have shown that agriculture residue burning contributes to nearly 17% of the PM10 pollution and 19% of the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi and NCR towns. Around 64% of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution in winter originates outside the city, experts have found.
On Thursday, the Haryana government submitted a report to the Supreme Court-mandated body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on the progress of crop residue management scheme in the state.
The report, placed before EPCA chairman Bhure Lal on Thursday, says the Haryana government had set a target of providing 5,563 agriculture implements such as super straw management system, happy seeder, mulcher, rotary slasher and rotavators among others to farmers this year. These machines would help farmers cut down crop residues without having to resort to burning them.
Till date, while 1,052 farmers have already received the subsidy, orders have been placed for another 3,310 implements, EPCA was informed.
A senior official of the Haryana agriculture department said, “We are ahead of other states. The chief secretary is pursing the matter vigorously. Even the Union environment secretary has appreciated the pace of work in a review meeting held on Wednesday. We have received a large number of applications. More farmers would receive the subsidy by the end of this month.”
The Haryana government has also identified around 30 villages from each district where teams would be deployed. These districts would be closely monitored through satellites too, EPCA was told.
The maximum number of farmers who received the subsidy are from Kurukshetra (136), followed by Kaithal (120) and Rohtak (82).
Millions of tonnes of agricultural stubble is burnt by farmers in north India every October, before the onset of winter. An estimated 35 million tonnes are set afire in Punjab and Haryana alone. The smoke from these fires triggers heavy smog in Delhi and other NCR towns, such as Noida and Gurugram, which are located in the downwind path.
EPCA chairman Bhure Lal has directed the deputy commissioners of Karnal, Sonepat, Panipat, Kaithal and Kurukshetra among others districts to ensure that there is no stubble burning this time.
“Several farmers are coming forward. The Haryana government is selecting them after scrutinising the applications. The results are encouraging,” said Bhure Lal.
Such is the magnitude of the problem that the Union government had approved ₹1,151 crore to promote crop residue management in the four NCR states.
Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain has also written letters to his counterparts in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab to take preventive measures so that incidents of stubble burning could be reduced.
On Wednesday EPCA members held a meeting with senior officials from Rajasthan to review what measures are being taken to reduce air pollution. In the meeting Rajasthan officials were advised to explore ways on how more industrial units could be shifted from coal to CNG.