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Stubble burning: Central commission directs thermal plants around Delhi to co-fire biomass pellets

Delhi faces high levels of air pollution with onset of winters, the season coinciding with paddy straw (Parali) burning in the fields in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (HT_PRINT)Premium
Delhi faces high levels of air pollution with onset of winters, the season coinciding with paddy straw (Parali) burning in the fields in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (HT_PRINT)

Paddy straw burning is a matter of grave concern in NCR and adjoining areas. Ex-situ utilisation of paddy straw is an important strategy amongst various means of prevention and control of paddy straw burning, the panel said

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The central commission for air quality management has directed all the 11 thermal power plants within 300 km radius of Delhi to co-fire biomass pellets with coal to address the issue of stubble burning, reported news agency PTI.

As per the panel, the measure has the potential to utilise millions of tonnes of biomass and reduce air pollution.

Paddy straw burning is a matter of grave concern in NCR and adjoining areas. Ex-situ utilisation of paddy straw is an important strategy amongst various means of prevention and control of paddy straw burning, the panel said.

“The commission directs all the 11 thermal power plants within 300 km radius of Delhi to co-fire biomass-based pellets/torrified pellets. This will ensure ex-situ management of paddy straw, reduction in air pollution and improvement of paddy straw utilisation as an economic resource," it said. 

Bio-decomposer solution

Meanwhile, the Delhi government said on Monday that is gearing up to prepare bio-decomposer solution for spraying across farmlands around the national capital.

Notably, the Delhi government in association with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa developed a bio-decomposer capsule. These capsules can be converted into a solution to be sprayed on crop stubble in the farmlands. Once sprayed on the fields, the solution decomposes the stubble into compost in 20 days.

Briefing media persons on Monday, Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said, "In order to solve the problem of pollution, Delhi government is constantly meeting with different departments and preparing a winter action plan. Stubble burning contributes to Delhi's pollution that reaches a dangerous level. Many laws were made to deal with this problem... Penalties were imposed on the farmers but no solution was found."

"Last year, the Delhi government, in association with Pusa Institute, sprayed bio-decomposer on the fields. We got a lot of positive responses. We presented that entire report to the Central Commission for Air Quality Management and they asked for a third-party audit. The audit has been done and the report has been handed over. We are working on other aspects," he added.

The Delhi government will start preparing the bio-decomposer solution from 24 September and by 5 October it will be prepared. The government will spray the solution free of cost in the farmlands.

Notably, last year the spray was done only in fields growing non-basmati rice but this year the government has planned to spray the solution in all fields including that growing Basmati rice.

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