Bio-Decomposer a Success, Other States Should Implement it to Curb Stubble Burning: Kejriwal

The chief minister said the Delhi government spent Rs 20 lakh to check the efficacy of the IARI-developed organic solution, and it converted 90% of stubble into manure within 20 days.

New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday declared that the bio-composing solution developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa and referred to as the “Pusa Decomposer” has proved to be a success in addressing the problem of stubble burning. He also urged other states like Punjab and Haryana to implement it and hoped that “this is the last year when we have to suffer from (air) pollution”.

Following a visit to Hiranki village in North West Delhi, where a pilot project was undertaken to check the efficacy of the bio-decomposer, Kejriwal said, “To provide an alternative to stubble burning, the Delhi government has taken a crucial step in association with the PUSA Institute. We had sprayed the bio-decomposer solution on the farmlands across Delhi around October 13, which was developed by the Delhi government under the guidance of the PUSA Institute. Today is November 4, the entire stubble has converted into manure and the fields are ready for sowing again.”

As a large number of farmers across north India, and more specifically in Punjab and Haryana, resort to burning of the stubble left behind after paddy cultivation, and this results in severe air pollution, Delhi had this year joined hands with the PUSA Institute to try out the solution offered by the bio-decomposer.

The Wire had earlier last month reported how the IARI hoped to provide an organic solution to stubble burning through the Pusa Decomposer, which was developed to provide a quick rotation of crops and help farmers retain the nutrients from crop residue in their fields.

`Bio-decomposer can deal with all kinds of bio-mass’

The Institute director, Ashok Kumar Singh had revealed that the Pusa Decomposer was “capable of dealing with all kinds of bio-mass” and that the Institute had tied up with eight companies to ramp up the production of the decomposer capsules for mass consumption from next year. He had hoped that with use of the bio-decomposer, farmers would be able to retain and decompose a portion of the stalk and the roots in the fields and thus add to the nutrition in the soil.

The decomposer is required to be fermented for nearly a week before it is spread in the form of a solution in the fields. Completely organic, it contains strains from fungi, which assist in producing enzymes essential to quicken the decomposition of bio-mass. The solution helps in bringing the decomposition time of shredded and watered paddy straw from around three months to just 25 days.

Watch: ‘Delhi NCR Air Pollution a Regional Problem, Farmers Alone Should Not Be Blamed’

Speaking about the bio-decomposer emerging as a cheap and effective alternative to stubble burning, Kejriwal said, “I hope that this is the last year when we have to suffer from pollution. No government can make any excuse (now).”

`A cheap, effective alternative to stubble burning’

Stating that in Delhi the bio-decomposing process of converting stubble into manure has proved to be a “success”, the chief minister said this method has provided a cheap and effective alternative for stubble burning to other states. He also urged other states to now implement the alternative without any excuses.

“Every year, the smoke from stubble burning pollutes Delhi. The media reports and satellite images show that the practice of stubble burning is quite prevalent in the neighbouring states of Delhi, especially Punjab. On one hand, the farmers are themselves very troubled because their families and the villages have to bear the brunt of pollution. The neighbouring state governments have done nothing to provide relief to the farmers, because of which the farmers are forced to burn stubble which leads to major pollution across Northern India,” he said.

In Delhi, Kejriwal noted that the government took upon itself the responsibility to spray the bio-decomposer solution across farmlands around October 13. “We have sprayed the solution across Delhi in just Rs 20 lakh,” he said, adding that the bio-decomposer has proved its efficacy.

“We would present this alternative in front of the Supreme Court owing to the effectiveness of this alternative. The farmers and the scientists of the PUSA Institute are very satisfied with the output of the solution. No government can make an excuse that they have no alternative or solution to the problem of stubble burning, because a very cheap alternative is available,” he added.

`Centre wanted Delhi to try out bio-decomposer first’

Kejriwal also disclosed how the Union environment minister had told him that Delhi should experiment with the bio-decomposer first before other states could be pressed to use it.

Also read: As Pollution from Stubble Burning Makes Headlines Again, Here Are the Issues at Stake

The chief minister also spoke about how he tried to meet the Union minister for a long time, but in vain. “He must have been busy, and so I talked to him on the phone. I told him that we might be late in providing this alternative to the farmers, the Centre must try and stop stubble burning as much as they can in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. He said that Delhi may experiment with it first, and based on the efficacy of the alternative, the Centre will then consider implementing it in other states.”

`90% stubble converted into manure within a month’

Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said, “In Delhi, 40% of the pollution happens due to the stubble burning in the neighbouring states. This year also, the spike in pollution is due to the massive stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.”

He said after the bio-decomposer experiment has shown that 90% of the stubble can be converted into manure in about 20 days and how effective this process is, “the central government and the state governments should also implement this method.”