New Delhi: To incentivise farmers against stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states, a major cause of the toxic air pollution in the NCR, the Union Environment Ministry has approved a regional project under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
The Ministry, in a meeting chaired by Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra, approved the project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’.
“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 leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from the states as well as farmers.
NAFCC was established by the government in August 2015, with a budget provision of Rs 350 crore for the year 2015-16 and 2016-17, with an estimated requirement of Rs 181.5 crore for financial year 2017-18.
The objective of the fund is 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.
The Ministry said that the project aims to counter the adverse environmental impacts that arise from stubble burning.
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.
“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.
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.