‘Punjab, Delhi, Haryana & UP govts have prepared action plans to check stubble burning’

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas has said that the state governments of Punjab, Delhi and NCR states have prepared detailed action plans for the prevention and control of stubble burning.

The plans have been formulated based on the framework made by CAQM and directions have been issued for its strict implementation, the commission said via a statement on Wednesday.

The governments will adopt a management plan for in-situ crop residue management, which will be supported by the crop residue management scheme of the Agriculture Ministry, under which 1,43,801 machines are already available, and another 56,513 are being procured.

The states will also look at ex-situ crop residue management, prohibition of stubble and crop burning, effective monitoring and enforcement of the prohibition, schemes to reduce the generation of paddy straw and IEC activities.

Directions have already been issued for adopting a standard protocol developed by ISRO for recording and monitoring the fire counts due to stubble burning.

The states will also adopt bio-decomposer technology developed by IARI, and the PUSA bio-decomposer will be used across 6 lakh acres in UP, 1 lakh acres in Haryana, 74,13 acres in Punjab and 4,000 acres in Delhi. CAQM will also promote the use of paddy straw pellets or briquettes for co-firing in thermal power plants, for which the agency has already issued directions to 11 thermal power plants located within 300 km of Delhi.

Directions have also been issued to the NCR state governments and Delhi government for abatement of dust from roads and open areas through a “dust control and management cell”, which will include activities like mechanised cleaning of roads, use of dust suppressants, paving, greening of central verges and building cement roads.

Installation of anti-smog guns and screens at construction sites, dust-suppressants and water mist, transportation of C&D materials in covered vehicles, setting up air quality monitoring sensors in project sites and self-audit and certification mechanism by the project agencies have been suggested to manage construction and demolition pollution.

The commission has further stated that shifting of industries to PNG and cleaner fuels is a priority. Delhi has now completely switched over to such fuels for all of its 1,635 identified industries. In NCR, Haryana has so far shifted 408 out of 1,469 industrial units. In UP 1,167 industries out of 2,273, and in Rajasthan, 124 out of 436 industries have been shifted to PNG.

It has also issued an advisory for “mandating procurement of zero emission and e-vehicles” and state-wise action plans have also been prepared for control of bio–mass and municipal solid waste burning and fires at landfill sites, focusing on deployment of enforcement teams, quick complaint redressals and corrective actions through IT enabled platforms.

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