Open House: What else needs to be done to check the menace of stubble burning ? : The Tribune India

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Open House: What else needs to be done to check the menace of stubble burning ?

Technology-driven measures needed to tackle paddy straw

Open House: What else needs to be done to check the menace of stubble burning ?

A field set on fire at Dolon Khurd village in Pakhowal tehsil in Ludhiana. - File photo



Use Happy Seeders & Balers for stubble

It is indeed a matter of pride that the Ludhiana administration was able to limit stubble burning to a bare minimum this season through a concerted campaign. However, in order to eradicate its root cause, it is important to understand why farmers resort to stubble burning. It is no secret that getting rid of crop residue is expensive and time-consuming. So, in order to save time while preparing fields for the next crop, farmers engage in stubble burning, oblivious to the fact that the process emits toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and methane, among others, which are extremely harmful for the environment. The thick blanket of smog formed as a result of stubble burning affects air quality and becomes a cause of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. This necessitates finding innovative solutions to curb the menace of stubble burning and promote pollution-free farming practices. The Happy Seeder is an alternative as it shreds the crop residue into small pieces and uniformly spreads them across the field. The baler is another machine that can play an important role in stubble compression. Both these alternatives can be used to curb the menace of stubble burning.

Novin Christopher

RESULT OF SUSTAINED CAMPAIGN: DC

The fall in the number of case was a result of our sustained campaign against stubble burning, which will continue, with the aim to further reduce such incidents and make Ludhiana the first no farm fire district in the state. — SURABHI MALIK, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER


Govt should provide concrete solutions

The decrease in straw burning incidents is a good sign. However, the problem is mammoth and much more needs to be done. It should be appreciated that the quantity of such straw generated is too high to be managed in a short span as the time window available between the harvest of paddy and sowing of wheat is too small. Naturally, the farmers are forced to burn it in the absence of any viable alternative. It is being overlooked that paddy is associated with another equally serious problem — continuously depleting water table. The one common solution to both these problems is diversion from the paddy-wheat cycle to alternative, less water-consuming crops. However, the farmer needs to be assured of a minimum assured income from these. This should be ensured by guaranteeing remunerative MSP on each such crop and the assurance that the produce would definitely be purchased. If the government is really interested in solving the problem, it needs to come up with some such concrete solution. Otherwise the problem will stay as it is and everybody will end up beating about the bush.

Ravinder Mittal


CAQM teams should dissuade farmers

In spite of the strict instructions of the Supreme Court to curb stubble burning, the state failed to control the menace and the problem was rampant during the last kharif season. The short time window between paddy harvesting and the sowing of wheat crop is the primary reason farmers resort to stubble burning. The practice is seen as an ‘effective’ method of residue disposal. The long-term solution for the problem is to move farmers away from the water-guzzling paddy crop and encourage crop diversification. However, farmers will go for other crops only if the government gives an assured price (MSP) and market for alternate crops. During the harvest season, the police should visit villages that fall in the “red zones” regularly to keep a watch on farm fires and to raise awareness against stubble burning. Red entries should be made in khasra girdawri of defaulting farmers. The farmers should be sensitised regarding adopting scientific ways of managing stubble, to minimise the practice. Teams of the Agriculture Department, assisted by the police and the administration, should be present on the ground and respond quickly to reports of fire and take action as per the law. A Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) was constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Government of India, in the year 2021 for Air Quality Management in NCR Delhi and the states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan. Teams of this commission should tour Punjab to impress upon the farmers to desist from stubble burning. The commission has vast powers to take such measures, issue directions as it deems necessary for the purpose of improving the quality of air.

RS Sembhi


Farmers should avoid wheat-paddy rotation

Over the past few weeks, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi were severely affected by air pollution caused by traffic, high temperature, stubble burning, industrial and other consumer product emissions. Stubble burning is considered a major contributor in this. The state government must compensate farmers better, and this would lead to end of the stubble burning problem. The problem was less severe this season than in the previous years. We should use a smog detection and monitoring system, similar to the one being used in China. The government must motivate and educate farmers to rotate crops so as to break free of the paddy-wheat cycle.

Dr Mohd Saleem Farooqui


Farmers need to be compensated better

Air pollution is increasing by the day. Every year, one notices so many cases of stubble burning in Punjab alone. Farmers have no viable options to burning stubble because the cost of cultivation after removing paddy straw manually is very high and the process very time-consuming. So the state government, instead of fixing a penalty, must compensate the farmers by paying them a sum equivalent to the cost of getting their fields ready for the next crop. Farmers are already suffering loss and many have fallen into a debt trap. Agricultural universities and the government must devise a policy to organise orientation programmes for farmers to know which crop would give them greater returns. Farmers must come out of the vicious circle of paddy-wheat rotation.

Farzana Khan


Introduce new technologies

While some reports describe Ludhiana topping in various crimes, some good reports regarding stubble burning are pouring in, which have potential to console the residents of this district. A report observed that a relatively modest16 per cent paddy area was put on fire, while 84 per cent was managed scientifically. The deputy commissioner’s drive to check stubble burning was complemented by agriculture, revenue and police department officials who worked tirelessly on the field during the paddy season. Many more pragmatic steps should be taken to find permanent solutions for this menace. The government should prepare a marketplace for sale and purchase of stubble for all stakeholders, introduce new technologies to process crops residue, and give incentives to the farmers who use scientific methods for stubble management. Campaigns on sustainable farming practices should be started to educate people, particularly farmers, about the dangers of stubble burning and its impact on the health. All these measures have potential to solve this problem permanently.

Sukhdev Sharma


Use crop residue for animal feed

To check the menace of stubble burning, strict action needs to be taken. Wherever there is environmental injustice, no carelessness should be acceptable. There is a need to use eco-friendly products and put a prohibition on the burning of fossil fuels. Eco-friendly products like bio-gas should be used. Crop residue should be used for animal feed. The administration should persuade the people to plant trees. We must take action while we still can, else it would be too late.

Adish Sood


QUESTION

Unsafe haven for children and women, besides earning the dubious distinction of having the most criminal juveniles, Ludhiana has also turned out to be most prone to cyber crime, if the rampant rise in virtual offences is any indication. What should be done to curb the rising crime?

Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to [email protected] by Thursday (December 14)

#Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Stubble Burning


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