Centre allocates ₹600 crore to curb stubble burning | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre allocates 600 crore to curb stubble burning

Oct 05, 2023 04:59 AM IST

Punjab and Haryana, the states with the highest number of farm fires, have already received ₹200 crore as the first installment.

The Union government has approved funds worth 600 crore for a central scheme aimed at curbing instances of paddy stubble burning in most northern food-bowl states — a phenomenon that poses severe health and environmental risks, causing the formation of a smog shroud over northern India, particularly Delhi, during the winter months.

The Centre will work on achieving zero burning and will focus on the supply side of stubble for productive use. (Sameer Sehgal/ HT Photo)
The Centre will work on achieving zero burning and will focus on the supply side of stubble for productive use. (Sameer Sehgal/ HT Photo)

Read here: 41 farmers challaned for stubble burning in Kurukshetra

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According to officials aware of the matter, the Centre will work towards achieving zero stubble- burning and will focus more on the supply side of stubble for productive use under public-private partnership models.

An official said that funds under the scheme are being released in stages. The agriculture ministry has released 200 crore for Punjab and Haryana — the two states with the highest number of farm fires — as the first tranche.

Since the roll-out of the residue management scheme in 2018-2019, the Centre has so far cumulatively released nearly 3,000 crore to these states. In 2018-19, the Union government spent 584.33 crore; in 2019-20, the scheme was given 594.14 crore while in 2020-21, funds worth 570.70 crore were spent. In 2021-22, funds worth 690.9 were spent under the programme. The money given includes funds for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (IARI).

The Centre has expanded the scheme to allow for both in-situ (on-site) management of paddy remnants and ex-situ (off-site) processing of stubble for further processing to be used as compost and industrial raw materials, the official cited above said.

As winter approaches, the air becomes unbreathable even as dense smog forms a trough barricaded by the Himalayas running from north to east, enveloping Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and even parts of Bihar.

The annual pollution crisis lasts weeks, prompting emergency measures in Delhi. In these states, farmers set fire to paddy stalks around October to clear their fields for their next crop — wheat. This releases millions of tonne of smoke, carbon dioxide, and other toxic gases into the atmosphere.

According to IARI, nearly 14 million tonne out of an estimated 22 million tonne of the paddy stubble, or 63.6%, is set on fire annually.

Read here: Haryana to name and shame people burning paddy stubble

Haryana and Punjab contribute about 50% to this. In the Punjab region, rice and wheat account for about 85.91% of the total crops.

In Punjab, about 84 million tonne (23.86%) of the stubble is burnt in-situ each year after harvest, according to data from the agriculture ministry.

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