Chandigarh,  December 22,  2017-NABARD, Haryana Regional Office organised a Stakeholders Meeting discuss ways to tackle the disposal of crop residue, in Chandigarh today.

 The meeting was chaired by Smt. DheeraKhandelwal, ACS, Department of Environment who delivered the inaugural address. The other speakers included Shri D K Behera, Director, Agriculture and Shri Shailendra Shukla, Chairman, Haryana Renewable Energy Development Authority (HAREDA). Smt. T S Raji Gain, Chief General Manager (CGM), Farm Sector Policy Department, Head Office, Mumbai, Shri Arun Shukla, Chief General Manager, Haryana also addressed the participants.

 NABARD being the National Implementation Entity for various Climate funds has been entrusted with the task of preparing a multi-state proposal for Crop Residue management with financial assistance in the form of grants under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).

 The stake holders include farmers, Farmer Producer organisation, Farm mechanisation equipment manufacturers, Agricultural universities, Financial institutions, Research organisations, Biomass energy producers, etc.

 Shri Arun Shukla brought out the various learnings which NABARD had in the pilot projects that it had funded and the workshops that it had organised. He emphasised that while there could be alternative uses as raw material for biomass based power, generation, paper industry, compost, etc. , the in-situ utilisation through the use of straw management system and Happy seeder looks the most suitable. However, the same would entail support from the Government for purchase of machinery and sensitisation of farmers.

Shri Shailendra Shukla, Chairman HAREDA spoke of the need to have biomass energy based power plants to utilise the crop residue. He informed the house that a 50 MW plant has already been planned and RFP for the same has been floated. Since the cost of generation of electricity through these plants would be around Rs. 5 per unit, it would be higher than the cost of energy from Solar or coal based plants. Going forward, policy intervention by Govt. in the form of subsidy to the DISCOMs hold the key.

Smt. Raji Gain spoke about the need to stop crop residue burning as it not only leads to pollution but also loss of nutrients due to damage caused to the soil due to burning. She added that the GOI is seized of the matter and has asked NABARD to prepare a multi-state project to address the issue. The proposed project would have financial assistance under NAFCC. She also spoke about the need to have a pipeline of projects related to Climate change which could be submitted under the various Climate Change funds for which NABARD is the National Implementation Entity.

 Smt. DheeraKhandelwal, ACS in her keynote address outlined the changes being brought about due to global warming caused by increase in greenhouse gases. Apart from in-situ management holding the answer to crop residue management, diversification of crops from paddy wheat cropping would also be effective. While growing of pulses and some other crops would fix nitrogen in the soil, the same being less water intensive would lead to conserving ground water resources. She also spoke of the various social effects such as stress, irritation and loss of human lives and the hardships to families that pollution has brought about. She urged the implementing departments in the state to prepare a shelf of projects leading to mitigating the effects of climate change and tapping the funds available for the purpose.

 Shri D K Behera, Director, Agriculture and Farmer welfare, Govt. of Haryana shared the plan submitted by the State Govt. to GOI for covering 6.81 lakh hectare of agricultural land in Haryana with farm mechanisation equipment including, straw management syatem, happy seeder, baler, etc at an estimated cost of Rs. 665.70 crore. He outlined that around 50% subsidy on the same is expected as subsidy from the GOI. He also spoke about the utilisation of Rs. 75 crore under Sub mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) utilised by the farmers for purchase of mechanisation equipment in the current year beside covering around 2 lakh farmers in sensitisationprogrammes through 3457 awareness camps held all over the state.

 Shri Kuldeep, DGM, NABARD made a presentation on the broad contours of the proposed multi-state proposal for crop residue management under NAFCC. He outlined the plan which would involve utilising FPOs and PACS for opening custom hiring centres that would provide farmers with the necessary equipment.

The inaugural and technical sessions were followed by open house session where various stakeholders voiced their opinion on the proposals and shared their experience.

 Extensive crop residue burning — lasting for more than three weeks every year during October and November — has been contributing to atmospheric pollution with implications for global warming and the health of people in the adjacent National Capital Region (NCR).