The central government said Thursday that a one-time financial aid will be given to individuals and companies to set up torrefaction and pelletizing plants to ensure a regular supply of paddystro for co-firing in thermal plants and industries.
Setting up these factories will help solve the problem of stubble burning and generate income for farmers, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said at a workshop on “Guidelines for granting one-time financial support for the establishment of pelletizing plants.” and torrefaction installations to use paddystro”.
In addition to adverse meteorological conditions, rice straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is a major reason behind the alarming spike in air pollution in the national capital in October and November. Farmers set fire to their fields to quickly clear crop residues before growing wheat and potatoes.
According to government data, Punjab and Haryana produce about 27 million tons of paddy straw per year, of which about 6.4 million tons are unmanaged.
To tackle the problem of air pollution and reduce the carbon footprint of thermal power plants and industries, the government had previously mandated that 5 to 10 percent of the biomass be co-fired with coal.
While there is a demand for biomass from power plants, “supply is on the low side…due to slow/limited growth of aggregators/suppliers,” the government noted.
“Therefore, it is necessary to facilitate the establishment of pelletizing plants so that paddy straw is used and further addressing the issue of combustion and pollution of the crops,” read the guidelines prepared by the Union Ministry of Environment.
Financial aid of Rs 14 lakh per tonne per hour production capacity of the factory (with a maximum of Rs 70 lakh per proposal) will be given for setting up new pelletizing units, as per the guidelines.
Rs 28 lakh per tonne per hour of plant production capacity will be provided for torrefaction plants, subject to total financial support of Rs 1.4 crore per proposal.
The government has set aside Rs 50 crore for use as per the guidelines.
The financial support can be used by individuals and companies setting up new factories and units using only paddy straw generated in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, and the NCR districts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
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