05 August 2023, New Delhi: A high-level inter-Ministerial meeting was held yesterday under the co-chairmanship of Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav to review the preparedness of the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi in preventing paddy stubble burning in the current season.
The high-level meeting was attended by the Agriculture Minister of UP, Punjab, Haryana, and Gopal Rai, Environment Minister of NCT of Delhi.
During the meeting, the States presented their action plan and strategies for preventing stubble burning in the current season. The States were advised to utilize the funds provided for crop residue management, make Crop Residue Management (CRM) machinery available well before harvesting season, and carry out Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities in collaboration with ICAR and other stakeholders to bring awareness amongst farmers against paddy stubble burning.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister for Environment stated that efforts to prevent paddy stubble burning for the last five years are bearing good results. Due to the concerted efforts of agencies like the Commission for Air Quality Management, burning instances in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi have come down. There is a need to encourage ex-situ management of paddy straw which will provide raw materials to the user industries like Power, biomass, etc.
The Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar congratulated all the stakeholders for the seriousness that they have shown in addressing the issue of paddy stubble burning. He observed that due to the efforts of all the stakeholders, the events of paddy stubble burning are continuously coming down. However, paddy stubble burning is not just related to the pollution of Delhi and its adjoining areas. It is also creating a detrimental effect on the farmland by adversely affecting soil health and fertility. Hence, our efforts have to be both for fighting air pollution in Delhi and for protecting the soil health, thereby protecting the ultimate interests of our farmers.
The aim in the current season is to work towards achieving zero stubble burning. The Government of India is providing sufficient funds under the CRM scheme to the four States and they must ensure proper utilization by providing machines to the farmers on time. There is a need for proper monitoring at the State level to ensure proper utilization of the machines and the use of bio-decomposer. The focus should also shift to using paddy straw for commercial purposes by way of ex-situ management. Awareness creation to prevent stubble burning through various mechanisms needs to be stepped up. Agencies like Agriculture Technology Management Agencies (ATMA) need to be used to their fullest potential.
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