Crop residue burning has been a serious issue that releases approximately 149.24 million tonnes of CO2, over 9 million tonnes of carbon monoxide (CO), 0.25 million tonnes of Sulphur oxides (SOX), 1.28 million tonnes of particulate matter, and 0.07 million tonnes of black carbon. It is directly responsible for pollution in the environment, as well as the yearly haze in Delhi during the October-November period.
Substantial investments in agricultural residue management equipment and farmer subsidies over the past four years under the supervision of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Supreme Court of India have helped the government control the issue considerably.
Happy Seeders, Super Seeders, Mulchers, and Ploughs have all grown popular in recent years for direct planting and integrating crop residue into the soil. However, the method of collecting agricultural stubble in the shape of Rectangular or Round Bales using Tractor-operated rakes and baler is the most frequent and prevalent due to numerous additional uses, particularly as boiler fuel to create electricity.
Now for the past two months, bale owners have been requesting an increase in bale supply prices from Biomass facilities as their production cost has risen significantly due to the rapid increase in fuel prices.
There is an ongoing deadlock between the Baler Owner Association and the Biomass Plant Owners in spite of several rounds of discussions. As a result of the prolonged deadlock, many farmers who wish to acquire these baler under the government’s subsidy program will be left with no choice but to burn the crop residue owing to a lack of intercropping time.
Baling is likely to be adversely impacted this year unless the government and agriculture ministries of Haryana and Punjab intervene immediately to settle the issue. Failure to do so will not only have a negative influence on this year’s baling but also on all other past government measures and investments made to safeguard the environment.