NEW DELHI: With Delhi choking with smog created by burning of paddy straw in neighbouring states, noted agri-scientist M S Swaminathan today suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ways to commercialise the straw to help tide over the problem.
Swaminathan said paddy straw can be used for making animal feed, cardboard, paper and other products. He will soon send a detailed note to the PM in this regard.
“I have told the Prime Minister how we can make use of paddy straw instead of burning it. You cannot ask farmers to stop burning paddy straw as he has to prepare his field for the next crop. You must find a mechanism to commercialise it,” Swaminathan told PTI on the sidelines of an event here.
A technology has been developed in Maharashtra for using paddy straw as animal feed, he said.
“You add urea and molasses in paddy straw, you can use it as animal feed. There are many different ways, paddy straw can be utilised. The PM was very interested and I will soon send a note to him on this topic,” he said.
India produces 140 million tonnes of paddy and 280 million tonnes of rice straw in a year, he added.
Swaminathan, known as Father of India's Green Revolution, was sharing the dias with the Prime Minister at first ever international conference of agro-biodiversity being held here.
While addressing the event, he spoke on the issue saying that when we talk about agro-biodiversity, it is not about grains alone but about the whole plant.
“Paddy straw enriched with urea and molasses is a wonderful animal feed,” he said while citing example of research work done in Myanmar in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Centre has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a “gas chamber”.
“There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation,” Union Environment Minister Anil Dave had said.
Cases of severe breathlessness, asthma and allergy have sharply risen in Delhi as the city remains blanketed in thick layer of toxic air due to the worst smog in 17 years, aggravated by use of Diwali crackers last week.