Javadekar convenes a meeting of CMs and officials from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, U.P. and Rajasthan
The Union government will this year test a straw-decomposing technology developed by scientists at the the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, to deter farmers from burning paddy stubble, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said after convening a meeting of Chief Ministers and State government officials from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The ‘PUSA Decomposer’, as it is called, is a set of four tablets made by extracting fungi strains that help the paddy straw to decompose at a much faster rate than usual, giving farmers the option to shred the straw, spray a solution containing the fungal strains, and mix it with the soil for decomposition.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too had discussed this technology.
At a media briefing after the virtual summit, Mr. Javadekar said, “This year we will test it in all States, in thousands of hectares, and based on the results we will expand it next year”.
With the advent of winter, contribution from stubble burning to pollution can on the worst days climb to as much as 40% with the rest from construction debris, plastic burning and road dust. Adverse meteorological conditions play a significant role in worsening the impact of stubble burning, which coincides with the time farmers must clear their field of paddy straw for sowing the winter wheat.
“We have given machines worth ₹1,700 crore to farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Teams of the Central Pollution Control Board will be closely monitoring instances of violation,” said Mr. Javadekar.
The meeting was attended by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State boards, the DDA and the NDMC. Six meetings had been held to discuss the issue and the Centre has taken several measures for the same.
After chairing the over one-hour-long meeting , Mr. Javadekar said all the five States gave details of their action plans and Delhi had been asked to focus on its 13 pollution hotspots and any incomplete road work must be completed to avoid dust.