Arvind Kejriwal writes to Javadekar over crop stubble burning issue

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday, and asked him for an in-person meeting to discuss the crop stubble burning issue in northwest India.

In the letter, he suggested scaling up the use of a low-cost technology developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here to deal with stubble burning.

“For the past two days, I have been requesting to meet you, but maybe you are very busy and therefore could not meet me,” the letter states. “You might think, why do I want to meet you now, as it is very late. Why did I not meet you earlier? The reason is that a few days ago, we got in touch with scientists from IARI. They said they have developed a simple and inexpensive solution to stubble burning. They have been doing research on this for a few years,” the letter read.

The number of crop stubble burning cases in Punjab has been increasing over the past few days, especially in Amritsar district, satellite images released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) have shown. Nasa also warned that with plumes of smoke being seen over Delhi, the city’s air quality may also deteriorate in the coming weeks.

“The IARI technology can address these problems. We are going to try the technology in Delhi this year and ensure no stubble is burnt. Even though there is less time I hope the IARI technology is popularised in neighbouring states to reduce stubble burning. I can meet you when you call me,” Kejriwal wrote in the letter.

Experts at the institute have developed what they call as decomposer capsules.

Just four capsules, some jaggery and chickpea flour are needed to prepare 25 litres of a solution, enough to cover one hectare of land.

Scientists say stubble burning reduces soil fertility by killing the good bacteria present in it. But if the crop residue can be turned into manure, the use of fertilizers can be reduced, the letter read.

Kejriwal said this method can be a good solution to the problem of stubble-burning and the city government is going to use it at a large scale to ensure there are “absolutely no farm fires” in the national capital.

Responding to an Aam Aadmi Party tweet on Saturday citing Kejriwal’s letter, Javadekar tweeted that they had already spoken over the phone. “Arvind Kejriwalji we have aleady spoken over the phone. Centre has already taken successful steps to curb air pollution in Delhi and we have seen results. I have also informed you that we had called meetings with all states involved in the matter,” Javadekar tweeted.

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