Ludhiana, 18 October 2018: Pertaining to the current challenge of crop residue burning, leading to air pollution and degradation of soil quality, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has initiated on-ground project interventions to support farmers in adopting suitable solutions to the problem of crop residue burning in Patiala and Ludhiana districts, covering about 15000 acres of land to go stubble burning free.

To mark the beginning of its initiative in Ludhiana, CII organized a project launch event on 16 October 2018 in Boparai Khurd village in Ludhiana bringing together farmer groups, key Government officials, industry members and institutional partners. CII Foundation is implementing the project in five villages, namely Boparai Khurd, Sivian, Rajgarh, Dhurkot and Shajapur; with support from ReNew Power and Cummins. CII Foundation, with field support from GBDSGNS Foundation, is building awareness among farmers and providing financial support to farmer groups for procurement and use of required farm machines.

Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) congratulated CII for undertaking this initiative and promised support. He added that “PAU through their technical assistance will be training farmers to operate the machines and adopt relevant technologies.”

Addressing the farmers at the launch event, Dr Himanshu Gupta, SDM, Raikot said that “The Government may consider rewarding the village panchayats who actively participate in the initiative and enable farms to go crop residue burning free.”

Dr Jaskaran Singh Mahal, Director, Extension at PAU mentioned the key role played by CII and NITI Aayog platform: Cleaner air better life initiative for highlighting the available technological solutions to policy makers, which formed the basis for subsidy scheme on tools which are required by farmers.

CII has been engaging with various stakeholders for research, field programme implementation and approaches to find optimal solutions for air pollution in North India, especially caused due to farm residue burning in Punjab. Last year, CII, in partnership with NITI Aayog, anchored a policy research initiative “Cleaner Air Better Life” with the objective of deriving in-depth understanding of the issue.

Ms Seema Arora, Deputy Director General, CII and CEO, CII Foundation said, “CII has been extensively working with various stakeholders to do an in-depth research on the complex problem of air pollution; implementing pilot projects by adopting relevant technology and delivery models; and proposing enabling policy to scale up the optimal solution across India.”

Dr Harminder Singh Sindhu, President, GBDSGNS encouraged farmers to proactively adopt sustainable agricultural practices, rather than being dependent on Government subsidies only.