The Hush Post: In a major step towards lessening the smog in North India during Novemer –December, the Union Environment Ministry on Thursday approved a regional project under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) to incentivise farmers against stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states. The Ministry, in a meeting chaired by Environment Secretary CK Mishra, approved the project on ‘climate resilience building among farmers through crop residue management’.
Under the project, the government plans awareness generation and capacity building activities to encourage farmers to adopt alternate practices. The Ministry said that a slew of technological interventions will be undertaken for timely management of crop residue.
In May and October, the Punjab government sought Rs 2000 crore from the Central government to grant special subsidy to farmers so that they can be encouraged to stop burning straw.
“The first phase of the project has been approved at a cost of approximately Rs 100 crore for the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said a Ministry statement. The project will seek contribution from the states as well as farmers.
“Based upon the performance in the first phase, the scope could be enhanced and more activities can be supported subsequently,” said Mishra. The stubble burning, especially in Punjab and Haryana — estimated to be around 35 million tonne and banned by the green court in November 2015 — is a major cause of pollution in Delhi.
NAFCC was established by the government in August 2015 with an objective to assist states and union territories that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation. Delhi-NCR saw its air quality drop massively in November with several places recording a “severe” Index.