Home >> Baler Price Crisis >> Crop residue burning >> Pollution >> Punjab >> Social >> Delay in Addressing the Baler Price Crisis Can Have Adverse Impact on Pollution This Year

City News Ludhiana 9/30/2021 06:13:00 PM
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Punjab, September 30, 2021 (News Tean): Crop residue burning has been a serious concern in North India, particularly in Haryana and Punjab. Every year, during the October-November period, the environment deteriorates to the stage that the air quality reaches hazardous levels, posing severe health risks. The phenomena of residue burning is not only making the feed security of the country at risk but also creating various agro-ecological disturbances and environmental aberrances.

Paddy harvesting in Punjab would be in full swing in the next 10-15 days, with farmers left with no option other than putting their fields on fire, as balers have stopped taking crop residue (Stubble) from them. Baler which is an important stakeholder in bringing down pollution level, as he takes stubble from the farmer, processes it into a bale and sell it to the biomass plants, which uses it as a fuel to generate electricity. In the year 2012 bale per quintal was compensated at Rs 145 per quintal, when the rate of diesel was Rs 45, while in 2021 the rate of diesel is more than Rs 90 but they are compensated at Rs 125/quintal by the biomass plants. Therefore, this year will see a rise in pollution because of farm fires, as balers are not given the proper rate for selling stubble. According to agriculture experts, paddy is cultivated in 30 lakh hectares in Punjab and every year 20 to 22 million tonnes of straw is produced, of which balers process around 8.8 lakh metric tonnes of stubble annually in Punjab and sell it to the biomass plants, which produces electricity capacity of 97.5 MW annually. Creating on-ground awareness for in situ and ex situ management of residue through various other ways might take some time to come into effect. However, the task at hand for the government should be understanding the plight of balers, who process around 8.8 lakh metric tonnes of stubble annually in Punjab and sell it to biomass plants, which produces electricity capacity of 97.5 MW annually.

As per the annual report of ICAR-IARI for 2019, based on remote sensing using satellite data 59668 and 9196 burning events were detected in the states of Punjab and Haryana, respectively between September 30, 2018, and November 29, 2018. Based on satellite data in Punjab alone approximately 11.85 million tons of rice crop residue was burned on farms whereas in Haryana it was 1.67 million tons. Burning of rice residue resulted in the emission of 18.40 million tons of (Green House Gases (GHG), 1.31 million tons of other gaseous air pollutants and 0.2 million tons of particulate matter in Punjab and 2.6 million tons of GHG, 0.18 million tons of other gaseous air pollutants and 0.03 million tons of particulate matter in Haryana.

If balers are not given an apt rate they would be forced not to procure and process stubble to bales from farmers, which would force the farmer to burn stubble, further adding pollution. The failure or delay in addressing the baler price dilemma will not only have an adverse impact on this year's baling but will also render ineffective all the government initiatives and investments undertaken in recent years to protect the environment.
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