The Haryana Cabinet on Wednesday approved a paddy stubble management policy, aimed to harness the straw for sustainable energy and eliminate crop residue burning by 2027.
The "Haryana Ex-Situ Management of Paddy Straw Policy 2023" is aimed to harness paddy straw for sustainable energy and eliminate crop residue burning by 2027, said an official statement after a meeting of the cabinet, which was held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
After the cabinet meeting, Khattar said that this policy marks a significant stride in promoting efficient paddy straw utilization while discouraging harmful residue burning.
Aligned with the government's commitment to harness energy from paddy straw and reduce its environmental impact, this comprehensive policy establishes an end-to-end ecosystem for paddy straw use, he said.
On the paddy straw generated annually, it has the potential to generate electricity, biogas, bio-CNG, bio-manure, biofuels, and ethanol. Ensuring a consistent and affordable paddy straw supply is essential for project sustainability, he said.
Notably, during the current season too as paddy harvesting is at its peak in Haryana, many cases of farm fires have been reported from some districts.
Recently, Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal issued a series of stringent directives to prevent stubble burning incidents.
Kaushal had emphasized that there would be no leniency in dealing with farm fires, urging district authorities to impose fines and take decisive action against those responsible, including penalizing officers for laxity.
Meanwhile, the policy provides a framework for attracting private investment in paddy straw-based projects, encouraging farmers to engage in responsible practices, and establishing a robust linkage between farmers and industries, he added.
The policy also offers a variety of incentives to promote the utilization of paddy straw in various applications including projects using paddy straw as a primary feed material qualify for incentives under the Haryana Bio-energy Policy, 2018, and its amendments.
This includes biomass-based power projects, compressed biogas plants, ethanol production, and other bio-fuel initiatives that utilize 100 per cent paddy straw as a major feed material.
Farmers and relevant organizations are eligible for subsidies on agriculture implements and machinery used for the cutting, collection, baling, storage, and transportation of paddy straw to straw-based industries and plants, said the statement.
Industries using paddy straw as a feed material will receive interest subsidies on term loans, akin to subsidies available for renewable energy projects, it said.
An online linkage between farmers, industries, gaushalas, dairies, and end-users will be established, enabling efficient management of paddy crop residue demand and supply. District-wise mapping of paddy straw demand will be coordinated with the New and Renewable Energy Department, Haryana.
The Department of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises will provide financial incentives to MSMEs for adopting biofuels, benefiting businesses like brick kilns, paper industries, cardboards, and others using paddy straw, it said.
Khattar said the implementation of this policy is expected to have a significant positive impact on the environment and the economy of Haryana. By reducing crop residue burning, the policy will help to improve air quality and soil health. Additionally, the policy will create new jobs and opportunities in the paddy straw sector, he said.