1. Agriculture World

Conference on “Curbing Stubble Burning: Making Solutions Work” Held in FICCI

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

Stubble burning is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare the field for sowing, even though they are aware that the burning of straw is creating alarming atmospheric pollution levels in Northern India. The farmers are ill-equipped to deal with this problem due to various factors like affordability of the new technology solutions and the associated cost factor.

Keeping this matter in view, a conference on Curbing Stubble Burning: Making Solutions Work was held in FICCI on 26th February. The programme highlighted the challenges faced by farmers and solutions towards effective management of crop residue to curb stubble burning e.g. by market creation for straw pellets, alternative cropping pattern etc.  

A solution-oriented approach highlighting the alternative cropping pattern wherever possible &best technologies and SOPs for collection, storage, densification and aggregation of agricultural residues like stubble were the main focus. 

The programme was chaired by Ms Rita Roy Choudhury, Assistant Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry. Panellist included Dr Gursahib Singh Manes, Additional Director of Research (FMBE), Punjab Agricultural University. Mr Harbhajan Singh, Director, Sukhbir Agro Energy Ltd.  Mr Harrman Randhawa, Farmers Association, Punjab. Mr M P Singh, Deputy General Manager, PEDA.  Mr J S Kholi, Technical Expert, HAREDA. Welcome Address by Mr Jasbir Singh Awla, Chair, FICCI Bioenergy Committee, Managing Director, Sukhbir Agro Energy Ltd.  Address by Dr. K. Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agricultural Engineering), Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) & Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) .   Mr Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India also addressed the session. Address by Mr C K Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) was also the part of the programme. Closing Remarks were given by Mr Kolluru Krishan, Chair, FICCI Climate Change Committee and Chairman, CVC India Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. 

Super SMS and PAU Happy seeder were discussed in detail by Punjab Agriculture University. Insitu incorporation Paddy Straw chopper cum spreader, Use of Straw Bales, Bale geyser for domestic use, Paddy straw based compost making Degradation with microbial Inoculation, Development with Microbial Inoculation, Development of short duration varieties of rice with less straw were the main highlights of the discussion. 

The theme for the second session was, "End-Use Options for Advanced Biotechnologies for Optimal Utilisation of Agri Residue. It included discussion on the optimal utilisation of agricultural residues using various technology solutions and best practices ensuring the financial and technological viabilities of the same. This will further emphasise on the existing scenario of the advanced bio-technologies to optimise their application and to use them for addressing the issue of stubble burning. 

The session was Chaired by  Mr Kolluru Krishan, Chair, FICCI Climate Change Committee and Chairman, CVC India Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and Panelist included   Mr Ravi Kirpalani, Managing Director & CEO, ThyssenKrupp Industries India Pvt. Ltd.  Mr Subodh Kumar, Executive Director, Alternate Energy & Sustainable Development, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd  Dr Y S Reddy, Scientist, CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum.  Mr Amit Kulshreshtha, General Manager, National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. (NTPC)  Mr N P Gupta, Director, Design-Indure Group.  Mr N R Shastry, Senior Vice President, ISGEC Heavy Engineering Ltd.  Mr Flemming Skovgaard Nielsen, BWSC-Denmark.  Mr Abhishek Sahay, Head of Public Affairs, Novozymes South Asia Pvt. Ltd. 

The third session included Enabling Framework for Implementation of Solutions. Even though there are adequate technology options and subsidies available to address the problem, there has always been a lack of sensitivity and gravity towards the matter, which has adversely affected the ongoing efforts to tackle the issue. The session, therefore, deliberated on the enablers holistically towards a more effective framework for implementation of the available solutions by collating ideas from the two sessions on effective management of crop residues and end use options for Advanced Biotechnologies for optimal utilisation of agri residues. 

It was chaired by  Mr Kolluru Krishan, Chair, FICCI Climate Change Committee and Chairman, CVC India Infrastructure Pvt Ltd & Mr Harbhajan Singh, Director, Sukhbir Agro Energy Ltd. Panelists for the session included   Mr Ritesh Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Mr Ritesh Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India.  Mr Chandra Prakash Goyal, Joint Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.  Dr G Prasad, Director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.  

A critical discussion regarding the implementation of the technologies was seen throughout the programme making it more healthy and informative in terms of knowledge and information and steps for the same in future.  

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