New Delhi, October, 2018:Every year the quality of air worsens in large parts of the country, especially in the North as farmers are forced to burn the paddy crop stubble on their farms due to lack of on-ground support in terms of mechanisation and operators. Spanning thousands of acres, the burning leads to a catastrophic drop in air quality affecting the villages and millions of people as the air carries the smoke across states, even up to the NCR. Children in the villages as well as the towns and cities suffer the most from this annual ritual. The farmer cannot be blamed for this as he is helpless, well aware of the ill-affects but handicapped for availability of operators and equipment to manage the crop stubble.
The Punjab Government, through the Department of Agriculture [DoA] and Punjab Pollution Control Board [PPCB] decided to take positive steps to curb this incidence. The Punjab Agriculture University [PAU] worked out certain innovative solutions to ensure the same.
SIAM and CII joined hands to demonstrate on-ground implementation of project in Nabha block of Patiala, Punjab to sensitize and support farmers in adopting alternative stubble management techniques. For SIAM, it is a sincere attempt at a socially responsible outreach to members in the social eco-system who need active support. While the automobile industry has a key responsibility within its own operations to make vehicles that are cleaner and greener, it is also the duty of the industry to collaborate with all key stakeholders to collectively work towards improving the air quality. That is the only way the entire society benefits.
CII has been engaging with various stakeholders to research, identify and implement models and approaches to find optimal solutions for air pollution in North India, especially caused due to farm residue burning in Punjab. Last year, CII, in partnership with NITI Aayog, anchored a policy research initiative “Cleaner Air Better Life” with the objective of deriving in-depth understanding of the issue. The report was launched by Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog in Feb 2018. Based on the findings of the report, CII, through CII Foundation is now implementing on-ground demonstrative project in select villages of Ludhiana and Patiala districts in Punjab.
The two industry bodies have come together, pooling in minds, manpower and money, to undertake a specific programme called “Sukh da Saah” [in Hindi it is “Sukh ki Saans” meaning “Breath of Life”].
- To ensure 100% stoppage of crop stubble burning across close to 6700 acres of farmland covering two farmer cooperatives
- In Jasso Majra and Mallewar in Nabha black of Patiala
- In the period of October to December 2018
- By implementing in-situ and ex-situ solutions on ground using the relevant equipment, implements and expertise
- In partnership with GoA-Punjab, PPCB and PAU
The entire cost of the operation will be undertaken by SIAM and CII.
The on-ground implementation will be done by CII Foundation with support from SAFE [Society of Automotive Fitness and Environment – a SIAM initiative].
Mr. Rajan Wadhera, President of SIAM, says, “This is really a milestone in Indian industry with two of the country’s premier industry bodies collaborating, with utmost sincerity and dedication, on a project to benefit one of the foundations of our nation and economy, the farmers. For us at SIAM it is a definitive way of how the automobile industry continues to build the nation, responsibly!”
Ms Seema Arora, Deputy Director General, CIIand CEO, CII Foundation says, “CII has been extensively working with various stakeholders to do an in-depth research on the complex problem of air pollution; implementing pilot projects by adopting relevant technology and delivery models; and proposing enabling policy to scale up the optimal solution across India.”
CII and SIAMwould request and encourage various segments of our society – the media, policy makers and social influencers, to pay a visit to Jasso Majra and Mallewar during this initiative to experience positive co-creative action on ground and share a few smiles with the farmers and their families.