India

Punjab will be free from stubble burning if AAP comes to power: Gopal Rai

By PTI

New Delhi: Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said Punjab, which produces around 20 million tonnes of paddy straw annually, will be free from stubble burning if the Aam Aadmi Party forms the government in the state.

Assembly elections are due in Punjab early next year.

Rai said that Delhi has given solution to the problem of stubble burning in the form of microbial solution Pusa Bio-Decomposer and it will be distributed free of cost in all the districts of Punjab like AAP government has been doing here.

Rai said, “If AAP forms the government in the state, Punjab will be free from stubble burning. We will connect with the district administration in Punjab and spray Pusa bio-decomposer free of cost in the fields like we have been doing in Delhi.”

“It is not that difficult (sprinkling of bio-decomposer on lakhs of acres of land). You only need willpower to do it. We will do it in a positive way,” he said.

The minister said that it would not be as costly as other measures being taken for crop residue management.

Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh draw attention during the paddy harvesting season between October 15 and November 15 as farmers set their fields on fire to quickly remove crop residues before cultivating wheat and potatoes.

This is one of the main reasons for the alarming increase in pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Despite the ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers are defying it as there is a short window between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.

The high cost of manual or mechanical management of straw is a major reason why farmers opt for stubble burning.

On October 5, the Delhi government began spraying Pusa Bio-Decomposer, a microbial solution that can convert stubble into manure, in 4,300 acres belonging to 844 farmers in Delhi.

Last year, it was used by 310 farmers on 1,935 acres of land.

Paddy is cultivated on 2.814 million hectares of land in Punjab.

According to officials, UP is using bio-decomposer in 10 lakh acres, Punjab five lakh acres and Haryana one lakh acres.

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