Farm fires: Fo­cus on worst of­fend­ers Tech in­ter­ven­tion needed to tackle men­ace: Ex­perts

IIT-D Study Iden­ti­fies 8 Dis­tricts In Pun­jab, 3 In Haryana

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Ri­[email protected] times­

New Delhi: A study by IIT-Delhi re­searchers has stated that eight dis­tricts in Pun­jab and three in Haryana should be given pri­or­ity for in­ter­ven­tion by the gov­ern­ment to reign in the stub­ble burn­ing men­ace.

While the dis­tricts in Pun­jab — Am­rit­sar, Firozpur, Lud­hi­ana, Farid­kot, Bathinda, Mansa, Pa­tiala and San­grur — con­trib­ute to nearly 45% of the to­tal stub­ble burn­ing emis­sion, Kaithal, Hisar and Sirsa in Haryana add an­other 17%.

The study con­ducted by Sag­nik Dey, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor, Cen­tre for At­mo­spheric Sciences, IIT-Delhi, and co­or­di­na­tor, Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence for Re­search on Clean Air (CERCA), clas­si­fied stub­ble burn­ing in north In­dian states as in­tense, ram­pant, lim­ited and large smol­der­ing. Us­ing satel­lite data, Mod­er­ate Res­o­lu­tion Imag­ing Spec­tro­ra­diome­ter (MODIS) fire count (from a height of 1km) and Vis­i­ble In­frared Imag­ing Ra­diome­ter Suite fire count (from a height of 375m), the re­searchers ob­served a few in­tense fires in Hoshiarpur (Pun­jab), Pa­ni­pat and Sirsa (Haryana).

Ram­pant burn­ing was ob­served in Lud­hi­ana, Firozpur, Moga, Pa­tiala, Farid­kot, Bathinda, Muk­t­sar, Mansa and Fate­hgarh Sahib in Pun­jab and Fate­habad and Hisar in Haryana. Lim­ited burn­ing took place in Gur­daspur, Rup­na­gar, Panchkula and Nawan­shahr in Pun­jab and Farid­abad, Gur­gaon, Jha­j­jar, Bhi­wani, Ro­htak, Soni­pat, Jind, Kaithal, Kar­nal and Ku­ruk­shetra in Haryana. Large smol­der­ing fires were seen in Am­rit­sar and Ja­land­har in Pun­jab.

“Rather than uni­formly dis­tribut­ing the re­sources, th­ese dis­tricts or vil­lages need to be pri­ori­tised and given more at­ten­tion. We need to un­der­stand the lo­cal fac­tors that are forc­ing the farm­ers to burn the stub­ble, espe­cially in the vil­lages or dis­tricts where it hasn’t shown any de­cline in re­cent years,” Dey told TOI.

The main ob­jec­tive of the study, done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Shruti Ku­mar and her team at McK­in­sey & Co, was to pri­ori­tise dis­tricts where things were not go­ing as per ex­pec­ta­tions and which were con­tribut­ing more to Delhi’s pol­lu­tion load.

“A 2018 re­port by The En­ergy and Re­sources In­sti­tute showed that open biomass burn­ing con­trib­utes 20-25% to PM2.5 in Delhi. How­ever, we must also keep in mind that stub­ble burn­ing is only a sea­sonal is­sue oc­cur­ring dur­ing Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber,” Dey said, adding that the last three years have shown a de­clin­ing trend, which is a pos­i­tive sign.

Most farm­ers in north In­dia pre­pare their fields for the wheat crop in Oc­to­ber-Novem­ber by burn­ing the stub­ble left af­ter rice has been har­vested. They plough the fields and sow wheat us­ing con­ven­tional seed­ers. Due to stub­ble burn­ing, 30kg of ni­tro­gen per hectare, 13.8kg of phos­pho­rus, 30kg of po­tas­sium, 6.5kg sul­phur, 2,400kg car­bon and sev­eral use­ful mi­cro­bial or­gan­isms get per­ished in the fire, be­sides re­sult­ing in pol­lu­tion. New Delhi: Im­por­tant tech­no­log­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions are much needed for bet­ter re­sults in tack­ling stub­ble burn­ing men­ace, ex­perts and of­fi­cials said on Friday at a con­fer­ence on ‘Stub­ble Burn­ing — Find­ings, Ground Is­sues and Pol­icy Per­spec­tives’, or­gan­ised by the Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence for Re­search On Clean Air (CERCA), IIT Delhi.

Ac­cord­ing to SK Goyal, se­nior prin­ci­pal sci­en­tist and head of NEERI Delhi, con­tri­bu­tion to the city’s air pol­lu­tion by Pun­jab and Haryana is lim­ited and re­gional ac­tiv­i­ties are more re­spon­si­ble. “There is a need for a busi­ness model to elim­i­nate this is­sue. The sci­en­tific com­mu­nity should come up with firm con­clu­sion af­ter con­firm­ing facts and fig­ures with 360 de­grees of eval­u­a­tion of the sit­u­a­tion and prob­lem,” Goyal said.

Ji­ten­dra Ku­mar, ad­vi­sor, NITI Aayog, said the plan­ning body is closely mon­i­tor­ing all schemes and pro­grammes and work­ing with state gov­ern­ments to ad­dress this is­sue.

“One of the pos­si­ble so­lu­tions which can be in­situ or exsitu is con­vert­ing stub­ble into bio-fer­tiliser. All IITs and other tech­no­log­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions should work on the idea of turning waste into value,” Ku­mar said.

The Union min­istry of agri­cul­ture re­cently stated that the num­ber of stub­ble burn­ing in­ci­dents had re­duced by 41% in Ut­tar Pradesh, Haryana and Pun­jab in 2018 com­pared to 2016.

The Cen­tre has set aside Rs 1,151.80 crore to com­bat crop

One of the pos­si­ble so­lu­tions which can be in­situ or exsitu is con­vert­ing stub­ble into bio-fer­tiliser


burn­ing by sub­si­dis­ing farm equip­ment like Happy Seeder, Zero Till Seed-cum-Fer­til­izer Drill, Mulcher and Re­versible Plough, among other ini­tia­tives. It has also re­leased Rs 584.33 crore to Pun­jab, Haryana and Ut­tar Pradesh in 2018-19 fis­cal, to dis­trib­ute th­ese machines to farm­ers.

Pun­jab agri­cul­ture de­part­ment sec­re­tary KS Pannu pointed out that at the mo­ment there is no method ex­cept in-situ man­age­ment, which is sig­nif­i­cantly help­ful in stub­ble man­age­ment.

STUB­BLE BURN­ING Dis­tricts that need to be tack­led on pri­or­ity Few in­tense burn­ing | Hoshiarpur | Sirsa THEY DID START THE FIRE Pa­ni­pat Ram­pant burn­ing Lud­hi­ana | Firozpur | Moga | Pa­tiala | Farid­kot | Bathinda | Muk­t­sar | Mansa | Fate­hbad | Fate­hgarh Sahib | Hisar Large smoul­der­ing Am­rit­sar | Ja­land­har Lim­ited burn­ing Gur­daspur | Rup­na­gar | Panchkula | Nawan­shahr Farid­abad | Gur­gaon | Jha­j­jar | Bhi­wani | Ro­htak | Soni­pat | Jind | Kaithal | Kar­nal | Ku­ruk­shetra TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

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