LUDHIANA: The Chairman of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Ravinder Singh visited the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today and held a detailed discussion with the senior officers of the University on the issue of paddy straw burning, its impact on eco-system and effective measures to control it. He was accompanied by Dr Baburam, Member Secretary, PPCB and other board members.
In his remarks, Ravinder Singh expressed concern over the paddy straw burning issue and the smog generated from it, thus, engulfing the entire state.
The total production of paddy and wheat straw in Punjab is estimated at nearly 21 million tonnes and 17 million tonnes, respectively, divulged he.
Stating that if the problem of stubble burning is not controlled, it will take years to take care of such a huge production of straw.
He highlighted that the straw reaper machine is popular in the state and that there is a need to popularize “Happy Seeder” technology among the farming community for the straw management.
Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that the University is making lot of efforts to check the practice of stubble burning by the farmers in the Punjab state. The PAU has come up with the technology of producing biogas from rice straw, informed he, while saying that the special thrust is being laid on the development of dwarf and short duration varieties of paddy. Besides, “vermi-composting” using paddy stubble and “bailing” for the easy collection of paddy straw bales for the transportation, are some of the other technologies recommended by PAU, said Dr Dhillon.
Dr Baburam remarked that many effective steps are being taken by the state government to check this menace. The main objective of the visit to PAU is to seek solution to the burning issue of rice straw, he added.
Welcoming the dignitaries and the senior officers of PAU, Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research; said that the University is putting up its best efforts to tackle the problem of stubble burning by the farmers on massive scale in the fields. The key focus is on evolving more technologies for the straw management, told he.
Dr J.S. Dhiman, Additional Director of Research (Natural Resource and Plant Health Management), proposing the vote of thanks, underlined the need for providing minimum support price (MSP) for alternative crops to the farmers.
The PAU experts including Dr J.S. Mahal, Additional Director of Research (Farm Mechanization and Bio-energy); Dr G.S. Buttar, Head, Department of Agronomy; Dr Gursahib Singh, Head, Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering; Dr Maninder Arora, Head, Department of Microbiology; Dr M.S. Dhaliwal, Head, Department of Vegetable Science, and scientists of various other departments, participated in the interactive meet.
The farm experts demonstrated power point presentations on rice straw management for sowing wheat. They highlighted straw management practices like collection, burning and straw mulching and incorporation. The experts said that Happy Seeder technology is eco-friendly and diesel and labour saving. Besides, they explained about farm machinery/equipment and their benefits such as straw chopper, spatially modified no-till drill, baler, etc.