Instead Of Blaming Farmers, Here Is What We Can Do About Stubble Farming

The world is a small place, and so, deeds of one person may have repercussions on another person. Speaking on a similar note, the tug of war between the two Indian states of Haryana and Punjab and the Capital of Delhi has conspicuously grabbed everyone’s attention.

While the country’s capital is adamant on putting all the blame on the agricultural states for the increased air degradation in Delhi, the neighbouring states seem to be prepared to shrug the blame off their own shoulders. What could be more brazen than the Nirbhaya rape case victim pleading for mercy, claim that the life span of people in Delhi has already reduced due to pollution! When your country’s capital is allegedly the most polluted city in the world, it is hard to save yourself from embarrassment in the eyes of the world.

Repetitive warnings and questions being hurled upon the government by the Supreme Court and the citizens of India seem to all be in vain. Amidst all the political drama, a variety of opinions and supposed solutions can be seen getting the limelight. While some people demand a complete ban on stubble burning, others seem to have a soft corner for the poor farmers.

Several suggestions propose using the “Happy Seeder” machine instead of stubble burning. The government has a scheme of providing subsidy to farmers up to 50% when it comes to purchasing Happy Seeder. Notwithstanding the fact that the cost price of one unit of Happy Seeder is not less than Rs 4-5 lakhs, and even half of the sum is quite a huge amount when the average income of a farmer is estimated at Rs 77,976 per year, according to the Dalwai Committee Report.

“While some people demand a complete ban on stubble burning, others seem to have a soft corner for the poor farmers.” Image source: Wikimedia Commons

This income can barely afford any extravagant expenses; it is already quite burdensome for most of the farmers to get their ends meet. Even if such a huge amount is somehow borne by the farmer, the machine would remain idle for the better part of the year.

A possible solution to this problem could be that the government itself undertakes a contract with a Happy Seeder manufacturing company and under the postulates of the contract, the company could be urged to rent their machines to the seeking farmers for the stipulated time period. Not to mention that the cost to be borne by the peasants would decrease drastically.

I came across an article by Mr Ajay Shankar, a distinguished member of TERI. He had put forward some of the brilliant two-way income opportunities from the crop residue. After treatment, the stubble can be used for cattle rearing. Another way to use it would be to convert it into biofuel for vehicles. In fact, Mahindra Group Company and IGL have joined hands for this concept.

Yet another way of making a profit from stubble is to convert it into briquettes. Briquettes, a substitute for coal, has a potent market in current times. It has primary usage in thermal power plants. Many companies have been lured by the fact that briquettes use no extra power as a replacement of coal and its sufficient availability is undeniable.

A scheme could be launched where the companies purchase stubble at a price ample for them to make a decent profit out of it even after covering the cost of harvesting the residue and then, convert it into briquettes. This solution can possibly eliminate stubble burning in a very short period of time.

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