The authorities have come out with figures and attribute the decrease to schemes it started for proper management of paddy stubble
The Union government on January 3 claimed that paddy residue burning over North Indian states had significantly reduced in 2018 when compared to the previous year. It took credit for the decrease, attributing it to Central schemes for management of paddy stubble.
“Through the various efforts under the Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanisation for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi’ the satellite data indicates that paddy residue burning events have reduced by 29.5 per cent, 24.5 per cent and 11.0 per cent in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab respectively, when compared with the paddy residue burning events in the year 2017,” a government statement read.
The total outgo from Central funds for the Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’ has been to the tune of Rs 1,151.80 crore (Rs 591.65 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 560.15 crore in 2019-20).
During 2018-19, funds amounting to Rs 269.38 crore, Rs 137.84 crore and Rs 148.60 crore have been released to the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively for distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, establishment of custom hiring centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking information, education and communication activities for creating awareness among farmers.
Besides, the Union Ministry of Power had brought out a policy for biomass utilisation in power generation through co-firing in pulverised coal fired boilers in November 2017. As per the policy, all fluidised bed and pulverised coal units (coal-based thermal power plants) except those having ball and tube mill, of power generating utilities, public or private, located in India, are to use a 5-10 per cent blend of biomass pellets made, primarily of agro residue along with coal after assessing the technical feasibility namely safety aspects. In line with the policy Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had issued an advisory to all concerned state governments, power plant utilities, power equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders to promote use of biomass pellets.
In a meeting held on November 15, 2018, the ministry decided that the states of Haryana and Punjab would issue bids for all coal-based thermal power plants to use a minimum 5 per cent of biomass pellets and up to 10 per cent to be co-fired with coal.
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