Attempts to reduce paddy straw generation are yielding positive results with the total paddy area and straw generation reduced compared to last year, the government claimed on Friday.
The total paddy area in the states of Haryana, Punjab, and eight NCR districts of Uttar Pradesh have dropped by 7.72 per cent during the current year as compared to last year.
"Similarly, total paddy straw generation from the non-basmati variety is likely to be reduced by 12.42 per cent during the current year as compared to the previous year," a release from the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) said.
Both Central and State governments of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh have been taking measures to diversify crops as well as to reduce the use of PUSA-44 variety of paddy.
"Burning of paddy straw from the non-basmati variety of crops is the prime concern. Crop diversification and moving away from PUSA-44 variety with short duration High Yielding Varieties are part of the framework and action plan for control of stubble burning," the release said.
As per data received from the state governments of these states, the total amount of paddy straw generated this year is likely to come down by 1.31 million tonnes (from 20.05 million tonnes in 2020 to 18.74 million tonnes in 2021) in Punjab; by 0.8 million tonnes (from 7.6 million tonnes in 2020 to 6.8 million tonnes in 2021) in Haryana, and by 0.09 million tonnes (from 0.75 million tonnes in 2020 to 0.67 million tonnes in 2021) in the eight NCR districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The total quantity of straw generated by the respective states was 28.4 million tonnes in 2020, which is now expected to come down to 26.21 million tonnes in 2021.
The decrease in non-basmati variety is expected to be even higher. Paddy straw generation specifically from the non-basmati variety of crops is expected to decrease from 17.82 million tonnes in 2020 to 16.07 million tonnes in 2021 in Punjab and from 3.5 million tonnes in 2020 to 2.9 million tonnes in 2021 in Haryana.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in Delhi and NCR through a comprehensive framework had directed the respective state governments to promote short duration and early maturing varieties of crops since they can be managed quite efficiently and provide a much wider window for paddy straw management. As per recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the Government of India, CAQM had actively pursued with State Governments for promotion of the same.
Apart from this, the Crop Diversification Programme is also being implemented in the states of Punjab and Haryana along with the NCR districts of Uttar Pradesh to divert the area of water-guzzling paddy to alternate crops, the release added.