NGT bans age-old agricultural practice of straw burning in Northern States

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned age-old agricultural practice of straw burning in pollution-ravaged New Delhi and 4 northern western states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Ruling in this regard was given by NGT Bench headed by Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar by keeping in view the serious issue of burning of agriculture waste (straw) which contributes towards global warming and the environmental pollution.

NGT has directed

  • Respective governments of Delhi and four northern to keep check the bi-annual menace of straw burning.
  • Imposition of 2,500 to 15,000 rupees fine on farmers indulged in straw burning.
  • District magistrates should form a committee to carry out awareness programmes for farmers and villagers in order to educate them about the ill-effects of straw burning.

It has clearly mentioned that if the directions of NGT in this regard are not complied with, the Chief Secretaries concerned states would be held liable.

Straw Burning Menace

  • Straw Burning is age-old agricultural practice followed by farmers biannually by setting fire to their fields to clear the land of residue (Straw) of one harvest and sow the next.
  • It is mainly carried in Northern western states in the month of November to save time under the rice-wheat crop rotation and to make the land more fertile and kill pests.


  • The menace of straw burning is making the atmosphere in national capital Delhi more blinding and suffocating as smoke from it moves towards the city.
  • The open field burning emits Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Nitrous Oxide (NO) along with particulate matter.

Thus open burning of agriculture remains is considered as a serious issue contributing towards global warming and the environmental pollution. It is also principle cause of haze and air pollution putting life of people and children in danger.

Earlier, Union Government had proposed to provide incentives to farmers and promoting efficient farming practices with subsidies to stop this menace.

The best remedy to stop this menace is to set up bio-ethanol refineries in order to extract sustainable bio-fuel from agricultural residue with the help of private-public-partnership (PPP) and private model.


Punjab to set up bio-ethanol refinery to stop menace of straw burning

Punjab Government has announced to set up bio-ethanol refinery in the state to tackle the menace of wheat and paddy straw burning.

In this regard, state government has inked MoU with consortium of Beta Renewables, Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. for project estimated worth Rs. 950 crore during the Progressive Punjab Investor Summit, 2015.

Benefits of bio-ethanol refinery

  • Would play an important role in solving the chronic problem of straw burning of leftover agro-based produce especially from wheat and rice feedstocks.
  • Benefit farmers economically, as they would be paid for their agro-based produce to extract bio-ethanol.
  • It would also help in preventing the loss of fertility of soil and damage to environment by reducing air pollution.

What is Bioethanol?

  • It is an alcohol derived by process of fermentation mostly from carbohydrates of plant produce and feedstocks.
  • Commonly obtained from crops such as sugarcane, cassava, corn, potato, beetroot and recently grapes, banana and dates etc.
  • Uses: As a quasi-renewable energy it can be blended with petrol or diesel making it a sustainable transport fuel. It can also be used an alternative fuel in manufacturing processes and cosmetic products etc.


Punjab Government establishes Special MGNREGA cell

Punjab Government has established a special MGNREGA cell to coordinate effective implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the state.

It has been established by Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Department at Chandigarh with an outlay of 233 crore rupees.

This cell will monitor implementation of Union Government’s flagship 100 days employment guarantee scheme of MGNREGA.

It will also monitor the wage rate under MGNREGA which has been fixed by Union Government on the basis of consumer Price Index- Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) which is implemented on 1st April every year and will be applicable for whole financial year.

It should be noted that all the districts of Punjab are being covered under MGNREGA with effect from 1st April, 2008.

The recent wage rate has been revised from 202 rupees to 210 rupees with effect from 1st April 2015. The wages will be directly transferred by state government in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries from 15th September 2015.