New Delhi: As part of its initiative to curb stubble burning, the Delhi government on Tuesday began the process of preparing the liquid Pusa Decomposer solution that has been developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa for rapid decomposing of farm residue, so that farmers do not have to burn the stubble. Delhi plans to spray this across 700 hectares of farm land and has decided to shoulder the cost of Rs 20 lakh involved in this exercise.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal visited Kharkhari Nahar village in South West Delhi, where the exercise has been launched as part of a pilot project, to review the bio-decomposer process. Under this process, capsules produced by the Pusa institute are mixed along with readily available inputs to create a fermented liquid solution that can then be sprayed on fields to soften the stubble.
Principal scientist of the microbiology division of IARI Pusa, Y.V. Singh told The Wire that the decomposer is a “microbial consortia of eight types of micro-organisms”. He insisted that it was completely organic and chemical free. “So there is no question of it being poisonous,” he said.
Speaking about the process, Kejriwal said the fields in Delhi where stubble used to be burnt in the past covered around 700 hectares of land and the decomposer provides a cheap alternative to the farmers, as they would no longer need to burn their fields. The process of spraying the fields in Delhi with the solution, he said, will begin from October 11.
During his visit, Kejriwal also met the farmers and scientists to discuss the working and efficacy of the process.
Later, he talked about the health hazards that stubble burning results in. “The harvesting of paddy leaves behind hard stubble on the farm fields. One of the main issues faced by farmers was to get rid of the stubble on the farm fields, owing to the less time between the harvesting and sowing season of the crops. The farmer then used to resort to stubble burning, due to which the healthy bacteria on the farm fields used to get damaged. The smoke came as a health hazard for the farmers and their families and people living in those villages, and used to cover the entire North Indian region,” he said.
The chief minister also lauded the role of the Pusa Research Institute in devising this “effective, cheap, and an extremely simple solution to deal with the issue”.
He said the institute has “produced capsules which are then mixed with a liquid fermented solution, which when sprayed on the fields, softens the stubble left behind. The hard straw then gets converted into manure and improves the fertility of the soil. This is going to be a very cost-effective alternative for the farmers, improve their crop produce and they will not have to burn the stubble.”
Kejriwal said the Pusa Institute had been conducting research on the solution and conducting pilot studies for the past three to four years. He hoped that “this system will prove to be successful. This is a very cheap alternative, the entire process of creating the solution to spraying it on the fields across the entire Delhi costs only around Rs 20 lakhs. I hope this will prove to be an effective alternative for the neighbouring states as well.”
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai, who accompanied the chief minister to the site, said, “Stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and other states contribute nearly 45% of air pollution in Delhi. Keeping this in mind, the Delhi government and the Pusa Agricultural Institute has come up with this new idea of bio decomposers.”
Stating that the Delhi government wanted to make the national capital “a role model, so that the other states can make no excuses for avoiding stubble burning”, Rai said states all over India can adopt the bio-decomposer technique of converting stubble into manure.
He also recalled how in a recent meeting with Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, the Delhi government functionaries had urged that the Centre and every state government should adopt this new technique so that stubble burning can be completely avoided.
Rai said work in this regard has started in Delhi and nearly 1,200 farmers have have registered for adoption of the scheme. “We will start the spraying of solution on their farm lands soon,” he added.