Paddy stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana has been a major source of pollution in north India, according to System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research. To check this pollution caused by burning of farm waste, the Centre and the state governments in Punjab and Haryana have agreed to make it mandatory for thermal power plants to meet 5 per cent of their fuel requirement from paddy stubble pellets.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by Power Minister R K Singh and attended by chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Also at the meeting were present, the top brass of Central Electricity Authority and NTPC.
The NTPC would most likely do the hand holding for floating tenders to procure paddy pellets in the states and the auction would start immediately without further wasting time. Probably, the proportion of paddy stubble used as fuel would also be factored in the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) of these power plants according to media reports.
A pilot project in this regards has already been conducted by the Centre at NTPC’s Dadri plant where up to 7 per cent of fuel requirement was met by paddy stubble pellets. It is also established that the thermal power plants can meet upto 10 per cent of their fuel requirement using this waste.