Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday told Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in a letter that he has been seeking an appointment with him for two days to discuss stubble burning and the air pollution caused by it, but in vain.
Kejriwal said smoke from stubble burning would start affecting air quality in the next few days, and he wanted to discuss a new solution the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has developed to tackle it.
“For the past two days, I have been requesting to meet you, but maybe you are very busy and therefore could not meet me,” the letter states. “You might think, why do I want to meet you now, as it is very late. Why did I not meet you earlier? The reason is that a few days ago, we got in touch with scientists from IARI. They said they have developed a simple and inexpensive solution to stubble burning. They have been doing research on this for a few years,” the letter added.
Later in the day on Twitter, quoting a tweet from AAP’s official account which contained a photo of Kerjiwal’s letter, Javadekar said, “Arvind Kejriwalji, we spoke on the phone. The Centre has taken many crucial steps due to which pollution has reduced in Delhi. And I have also told you about holding a meeting of ministers from the states concerned.”
Kejriwal also attached a letter that IARI director AK Singh sent him on September 23, which details the new solution the institute has developed. This solution is a microbial-based technology named the ‘Pusa Decomposer’ capsules that can rapidly degrade paddy straws in the field and convert them into compost, which does not pose any issues for sowing of wheat crops. The capsules, containing seven strains of fungi, are to be mixed with water, 150 grams of jaggery and 50 grams of besan, to prepare a 25-litre solution that can be sprayed on 1 hectare of field. The technology, costing Rs 300 per acre, was licensed to four companies in 2019 and two in 2020. Kejriwal said in the letter, “Farmers will not have to burn stubble. Scientists say in burning of stubble, useful microbes in the soil also get burned, which reduces productivity of the soil. By using (IARI solution)… the need for fertilisers would be reduced and the quality of soil would improve,” the letter said.
Kejrwal added the Central and various other State governments are focusing on machines that are alternative to stubble burning:“Despite heavy subsidies provided by the Centre to farmers for buying these machines, they still spend a lot of money to get them. Katai (harvesting) also costs them money. Because of this a lot of farmers are still burning stubble instead of buying the machines… If you count the less use of fertilisers and high yield obtained through the solution, farmers will have a net profit” . “…When you give me time, I will meet and discuss this with you,” Kejriwal said.
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