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Chandigarh

Need for sustainable solution to check stubble burning, says report

IANS | September 12, 2023 05:17 PM

CHANDIGIARH: The much-anticipated release of a comprehensive report, providing the perspective of farmers on the challenges they face in reducing stubble burning, has shed light on an issue that has long been a concern for both the environment and the farming community.

The report, compiled by a team of experts and released here on Tuesday, provides a detailed overview of the difficulties faced by farmers and emphasises the need for sustainable and long-term solutions that support their livelihoods.

Asar Social Impact Advisors collaborated with researchers, Clean Air Punjab, a network of citizens, civil society organisation members, professionals and other key stakeholders, and CMSR Consultants Private Ltd to develop a comprehensive report on stubble management.

The report, ‘Beyond Stubble Burning’, was released by the members of civil society, farmers and experts, including Prabjyot Kaur, Principal Scientist, Agrometeorology from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, and Supreet Kaur, President of EcoSikh.

Stubble burning, a common practice among farmers to burn crop residue after harvest, has been a subject of debate due to its contribution to air pollution and climate change.

Sanam Sutirath Wazir, head of state climate action, Asar, said, “The report highlights the economic hardships faced by farmers and suggests recommendations for the government to support alternative methods to stubble burning.

“Blaming farmers only for stubble burning is like blaming the oppressed for oppression. There are many farmers who are marginalised, they deserve support and not condemnation.”

Agricultural expert Devinder Sharma was the keynote speaker. He expressed concern over the issue, which has been prevalent for many years now.

“Today Punjab has 1.17 lakh machines for stubble burning management and 20,000 vehicles will be added this year. Punjab is going to become a junkyard of machines,” he said, adding, “We must come with a sensible and sustainable solution to this problem. There should be special budget allocation for the farming community to tackle this menace.”

The report recommends a multi-faceted approach that includes financial incentives, technological support, and awareness campaigns.

It proposes hassle-free subsidies for mechanised equipment that facilitate residue management, thereby reducing the need for burning.

The report also suggests collaboration between government agencies, agricultural experts, and farmers to promote knowledge sharing and implementation of sustainable practices.

Palwinder Singh, a progressive farmer from Fatehgarh in Punjab, expressed satisfaction with the report’s approach. “We’ve always wanted to protect the environment, but it’s crucial that solutions consider our economic realities.

“This report takes into account our challenges and offers practical solutions that align with our interests.”

During the panel discussion, Prabhjyot Kaur, PAU’s Principal Scientist Agrometeorology, said, ‘’As a principal scientist, I am guided by the winds of change. Through science and sustainable practices, we can cultivate a blue, brighter and cleaner Punjab for generations to come.”

Speaking on the occasion, Gurpreet Singh from Punjab Development Forum said, “In our pursuit of a sustainable solution to stubble burning, let us unite in the spirit of collaboration and support, recognising that solutions exist beyond blame game.”

Supreet Kaur, President of EcoSikh and Member of Clean Air Punjab, said, “The strength of our efforts lies in the collective will of our civil society. Together we can raise our voices to champion clean air, forging a path towards a brighter, healthier, future. Only through our shared actions, can we cleanse the skies.”

 

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