Delhi Smog: Here's what govt planning to curb stubble burning

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Delhi Smog: Here's what govt planning to curb stubble burning
Delhi Smog: Here's what govt planning to curb stubble burning

New Delhi : In a major measure which can curb pollution coming to Delhi from adjoining states, the central government is likely to impose an obligation on thermal power plants to mix coal with a 10 per cent component of straw pellets or briquettes, the Union Power Minister R.K. Singh said on Thursday.

Notification in this regard is likely to be issued soon. Although, the rule would apply across the country, Delhi has been suffering from extensive straw stubble burning by farmers in Haryana and Punjab, which has led to dense smong in the capital, with pollution touching danger zones. 

The Minister said that National Thermal Power Corporation would float a tender soon to buy straw pellets. The effort is to find an economic solution to the problem of stubble burning by farmers, after paddy has been harvested. The smoke from burning creates major health issues in surrounding areas.

Singh said the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency would give finance for pellets manufacturing which sell at Rs 5,500 per tonne on average. A farmer can gather around two tonnes of straw per acre, giving an economic incentive to avoid clearing the farmland by burning it. Singh hoped that creating such a market would help tackle the problem.

"We have spoken to the thermal power generators regarding emissions and they can now mix the coal fuel with 10 per cent of straw pellets or briquettes," Singh told reporters here after launching the portal of the Saubhagya project that aims to provide four crore unelectrified households in the country with power by December 2018.

Singh said similar obligations would also be put on coal-fired plants in states. It was not immediately clear whether the rule would apply to private sector coal-fired plants too.