The Delhi government is developing a new stubble decomposer solution made by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) on a large scale, which will be made available to farmers for free starting October 11, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.
Speaking at Kharkhari Nahar village in Southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh, where the process for developing the fungi-based solution began on Tuesday, the CM said the decomposer will be sprayed on around 700 hectares of fields in Delhi where paddy is grown, which will convert stubble into compost.
“The solution will be ready in seven days and October 11 onwards, we will spray this on fields in Delhi… If this is successful, then it is a very inexpensive solution. In the development, transport and spraying of this decomposer on 700 hectares of land, we are incurring a cost of just Rs 20 lakh,” the CM said.
Smoke from burning of paddy stubble in October and November in northwest Indian states, mainly Punjab and Haryana, contributes to air pollution in the northern Gangetic plains, including Delhi. Air quality in Delhi at this time worsens to harmful levels, aided by unfavourable meteorological conditions, including calm wind speed and lower temperatures, and by various other sources of emissions within the city.
The IARI Decomposer — based on seven strains of fungi packed into four capsules costing Rs 20 per pack — is being used on a trial basis this year in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
To avail the decomposer, farmers in Delhi have to fill a form with details including their address and the date they want the solution to be sprayed on, and submit it to the district administration.
Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that out of a total of 2,000 acres of paddy growing area in Delhi, applications from farmers have been received for 1,300 acres so far for using the decomposer.
Farmers in the Najafgarh area have said they do not burn paddy stubble as it is mostly used as cattle fodder and for other purposes in Delhi.
Rai said, “Delhi residents do not create smoke from stubble burning but have to bear the smoke coming from Punjab, Haryana and UP. We are setting up a model in Delhi (through the decomposer). If Delhi can do it, then other states will also not have any room to make excuses.”
At the decomposer development centre on Tuesday, water was being boiled in several large containers. IARI explained that in preparing the solution, 25 litres of water is boiled with 150 grams of jaggery. After this mix has cooled down, 50 grams of besan is added to it along with four decomposer capsules, and the container is then covered with a thin piece of cloth and left in a dark room for four days. After four days, the solution would be ready. It can then be mixed with 500 litres of water and sprayed over 1 hectare of land. Scientists said the decomposer would require about 20 days to work and can also be sprayed over standing stubble, if farmers do not have the machinery to chop it.
Bharatiya Kisan Union Delhi unit president Birender Dagar said farmers would begin harvesting paddy crop by October 12 and start sowing wheat and other crops by November 1. “In Delhi, 99% of stubble is used for various purposes, including fodder for cattle, so farmers do not set fire to the stubble here. Harvest (of paddy) would begin by October 12 so there should be no problem (in using the decomposer), as we start sowing other crops by November 1,” he said.
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