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Crop stubble-burning area has halved since 2017, shows satellite data

There has been about 50% reduction in the agricultural area where crop residue burning takes place every October in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi since 2017, according to satellite data collated by Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

In a press conference on Tuesday, ICAR director general, Trilochan Mohapatra said there has also been a reduction of about 15% in the number of crop residue burning.

This is mainly a result of more and more farmers opting for mechanized technology to dispose crop residue like the happy seeder that cuts paddy straw, sows wheat into the soil and pours the straw over the sown area which acts as mulch.

In 2018, the Centre had launched a scheme of about Rs 1150 crore to subsidise farm straw management machinery in the northwestern states where paddy straw burning is rampant and contributes to pollution in Delhi (depending on the wind direction) every year just before winter sets in.

Also read: Stubble burning in north India pollutes central and southern states too, says NASA study

Mohapatra said about 56,290 residue management machines have been bought by farmers and custom hiring centres since 2017 out of which 19,288 machines were happy seeders or zero till machines.

In Punjab and Haryana 1.25 million hectares out of 4 million hectares has been covered by technology to manage residue. About 7960 custom hiring centres have been set up through which farmers can hire machines.

“About 4500 villages are today burning free out of 30 to 35,000 villages in the region. This has mainly happened because of large scale demonstrations and awareness campaigns by the government. We have already released more than Rs 500 crores this year to prepare for the stubble burning season. We plan to have another 5,000 custom hiring centres this time and hope that the region is stubble burning free. Haryana can be burning free, some spots will remain in Punjab…” Mohapatra said.

First Published:
Aug 13, 2019 17:55 IST

Source: HindustanTimes