UP govt to set up biofuel plants to address issue of stubble burning

Credits: Bloomberg
With the Supreme Court recently directing Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to prevent their farmers from stubble burning owing to the severe dip in air quality in Delhi, chief minister Yogi Adityanath today said his government was already working on an action plan to create a robust value chain to curb the menace.

Addressing a sugarcane department programme in Lucknow this evening, Adityanath said the state government had planned to set up biofuel plants in every district. Farmers could sell the stubble, along with other agricultural waste, to these plants instead of burning it and causing air pollution.

“We are working with Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum in this regard. In fact, two such units are coming up in Sitapur and Gorakhpur. Later, we propose to set up one or two biofuel units in every district, so that not only are jobs created, but practice of burning stubble is also arrested,” he added.

Giving a clarion call to the state farmers to give up stubble burning in the interests of ecology and human health, the CM said the practice not only caused pollution but also affected soil fertility in the long run.

When farmers burn stubble, it also destroys beneficial soil bacteria, he noted, adding the agriculturists should ideally dig a pit in their fields for stubble and let it ferment, so that becomes organic compost for boosting soil fertility.

In its observation on November 4, the apex court had warned that the entire administrative and police machinery from top to bottom, in the three states, would be held responsible even if a single instance of stubble burning came to light.

Meanwhile, Adityanath launched web portal and e-ganna app for the state sugarcane farmers even as the 2019-20 crushing season has already begun.

He said the state was also working on a roadmap to convert sugarcane juice directly to ethanol, so that not only the farmers get better price but its blending in petrol pared the country’s dependency on other countries for fuel, thus saving the high oil import bill.

The CM further stressed on creating a Sugar Development Fund for the benefit of the cane farmers. He said the Fund would take steps towards expanding the capacity of state sugar mills, modernising the old plants and investing in other activities that improved the lot of farmers.

Adityanath directed the sugarcane department and the cane development societies to make the sugar sector viable and self sustainable. He underlined the use of technology in the sugarcane value chain, so that farmers get good value and can take informed decisions regarding cultivation and harvesting. He said the country could become prosperous and happy only if the farmers were happy themselves.

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