The central & state governments have stepped up to reduce paddy straw generation and stubble burning to curb air pollution.
As per a press release by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, steps taken towards reduction in paddy straw generation are yielding positive results.
Through crop & varietal diversification, increased focus on in-situ crop residue management including extensive use of bio-decomposers, promotion of ex-situ utilisation of straw and extensive awareness programmes, better crop residue management is expected, said the press release.
The total paddy area in the states of Haryana, Punjab and eight NCR Districts of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) have come down by 7.72 per cent during the current year as compared to last year.
Similarly, total paddy straw generation from the non-basmati variety is likely to be reduced by 12.42 per cent during the current year as compared to the previous year.
Both Central and State Governments of Haryana, Punjab and U.P. have been taking measures to diversify crops as well as to reduce the use of PUSA-44 variety of paddy.
Burning of paddy straw from the non-basmati variety of crops is the prime concern. Crop diversification and moving away from PUSA-44 variety with short duration High Yielding Varieties are part of the framework and action plan for control of stubble burning.
As per data received from the State Governments of Haryana, Punjab and U.P, the total amount of paddy straw generated will come down by 1.31 million tonnes (from 20.05 million tonnes in 2020 to 18.74 million tonnes in 2021) in Punjab; by 0.8 million tonnes (from 7.6 million tonnes in 2020 to 6.8 million tonnes in 2021) in Haryana and; by 0.09 million tonnes (from 0.75 million tonnes in 2020 to 0.67 million tonnes in 2021) in the eight NCR districts of U.P. this year.
The total quantity of straw generated by the respective states was 28.4 million tonnes in 2020 which is now expected to come down to 26.21 million tonnes in 2021.
The decrease in non-basmati variety is expected to be even higher. Paddy straw generation specifically from the non-basmati variety of crops is expected to decrease from 17.82 million tonnes in 2020 to 16.07 million tonnes in 2021 in Punjab and from 3.5 million tonnes in 2020 to 2.9 million tonnes in 2021 in Haryana.
Crop Diversification Programmes are also being implemented in the states of Punjab and Haryana along with the NCR Districts of U.P. to divert the area of water-guzzling paddy to alternate crops.