Rice being the main crop for the north-eastern region of India, the total rice straw generation in the eight states is approximately around 10.7 metric tonnes which is about 6.85 per cent of the country’s generation in 2015-16, according to experts. Assam, Tripura and Manipur are the three top rice residue producers in the region.
A six member experts’ team of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for NE region based in Meghalaya’s Umiam had also presented a paper in this regard on ‘Management of rice residue for sustainable soil health in conservation agriculture’ during the first ever day-long brainstorming workshop on rice residue burning in Manipur – issues and strategies for sustainable management in NE India in Imphal on Wednesday.
It also said that the rice residue burning which is a cost effective method widely practiced in the country, has many disadvantages from the environmental perspective (loss of soil nutrients, emission of greenhouse gas, air quality etc).
However, it has many advantages too like killing of pests, ease in farm operations etc.
It is estimated that one tonne rice residue burning releases 13 kilograms of particulate matter, 60 kgs of carbon monoxide, 1460 kg of carbon dioxide, 3.5 kg of nitrogen oxide and 0.2 kg of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.
In Manipur too, around 0.5 million tons of rice residues from 2.2 lakh hectares of rice area are being burnt annually leading to generation of pollutants such as 6864 tons of particulate matter, 31680 tons of carbon monoxide, 770880 tons of carbon dioxide, 1848 tons of nitrogenoxide and 1056 tons of sulphur dioxide, another study claimed.
All these issues were discussed during the workshop which aims to work out economically viable alternatives to rice residue burning and also to ensure a green environment to our future generation, which was held under the aegis of Indian Association of Hill Farming, Meghalaya in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for NE region and Central Agricultural University, Imphal.
Most of the speakers including Manipur Agriculture Minister V Hangkhalian during the workshop shared their views on this subject to effectively manage the rice residue burning besides opining that they need to devise a meaningful strategy in a framer friendly way which can be initiated by the State Government in formulating a policy.
Creating awareness among the farmers of the State about the ill-effects of rice residue burning should be looked into.
In his speech, Manipur University’s Vice Chancellor Prof Aditya Prasad Pandey said rice residues burning in Manipur is a very serious issue and a cause for concern.
Additional Chief Secretary Suhel Akhtar, Director N Prakash of ICAR for NE region, General Manager PN Praveen Kumar of NABARD, Manipur Regional Office, former president Dr S V Ngachan of Indian Association of Hill Farming, directors of Agriculture and Environment departments, Ph Rajendro, Y Nabachandra and director of National Centre of Organic Farming, Gaziabad, Dr Krishna Chandra, attended the inaugural function wherein a souvenir was also released.