Viable alternative emerges to burning paddy straw in Punjab

Viable alternative emerges to burning paddy straw in Punjab
Highlights

Stubble burning creates a huge environmental problem and farmers of Punjab are aware of it but still resort to this practice, saying there is no viable alternative available.

Stubble burning creates a huge environmental problem and farmers of Punjab are aware of it but still resort to this practice, saying there is no viable alternative available.

Now, an innovative experiment aimed at creating a new market for rice straw by converting this waste material as an energy feeder in boilers may turn out be a real game changer for the state's farmers, offering them a new economic outlet while at the same time conserving the environment.

Worldwide Fund for Nature India (WWF India) is working closely with a major Ludhiana manufacturer and supplier of Swedish multinational IKEA to use rice straw as an energy feeder in boilers.

The company currently uses pellets made of groundnut shell and wood chips for feeding in boilers. However, supply of groundnut shells is erratic and expensive while wood chips are voluminous and come with high moisture levels.

Rice straw, on the other hand, is abundant and plenty but needs to be densified, states Baljeet Gill, Procurement Head of Jawandsons, which supplies textiles to IKEA.

"We have undertaken testing of rice straw samples provided by WWF India and found that the calorific value of the straw almost matches with the other two raw materials," he pointed out.

Resham Singh of Mehma Sarkari village near Bhatinda is one of the first farmers to benefit from this new initiative. "With the help of a baler, I made about 200 bales of paddy straw for which I received almost Rs 4,000," he disclosed.

Similarly, Ishwar Chand of Mandali village in Mansa district has been able to dispose of his rice straw satisfactorily without polluting the environment.

In a bid to check stubble burning, the Punjab government recently announced an 80 per cent subsidy on the purchase of happy seeders. These are tractor-mounted machines that cut straw, sow wheat and deposit the straw over the sown area as mulch.

There is no need to clean the field or burn stubble after using the combine machine, but it has few takers.

Nitin Jugran Bahuguna

Show Full Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
More Stories


Top