Punjab aims to reduce farm fires by 50 per cent this winter season and completely eliminate stubble burning in six districts, the Commission for Air Quality Management said on Tuesday.
According to the state’s action plan to curb paddy straw burning, about 31 lakh hectares of land in the state is under paddy cultivation. This is expected to generate around 16 million tonnes of paddy straw (non-basmati) which will be managed through in-situ (mixing crop residue in fields) and ex-situ (using stubble as fuel) methods.
Efforts are being made to use the paddy straw for industrial and energy generation projects. Sizable quantity of straw will also be used as cattle fodder, the CAQM said.
Punjab also plans to manage around 8,000 acres of paddy area using Pusa Bio Decomposer. This microbial solution can break down paddy straw in just 15-20 days and will be provided to farmers for free, it said.
“The State Action Plan envisages at least 50 per cent reduction in fire counts in Punjab during 2023 compared to last year. The plan attempts elimination of stubble burning cases this year in six districts namely Hoshiarpur, Malerkotla, Pathankot, Rupnagar, SAS Nagar (Mohali) and SBS Nagar,” the commission said in a statement.
According to government data, five districts — Sangrur, Bathinda, Firozpur, Muktasar and Moga — had accounted for around 44 per cent of total fire counts in the state last year.