RCE Chandigarh-2014

1. Project Title: 
Stakeholders’ Consultative Conference on Management & Utilization of Paddy Straw
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
3. Project partner contact information : 
Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST)
Organizer of Program
Main Contact: 
Dr. Neelima Jerath
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

A two day Stakeholders Consultative Conference was held on 3rd & 4th January, 2014 under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Chief Minister, Punjab, S. Parkash Singh Badal to discuss management and utilization options for paddy straw in the state.

The Conference was attended by Sh. Bikram Singh Majithia, Hon’ble Minister, Revenue, Public Relations and Non Conventional Energy, Sh.G.S. Babbehali and Sh. N.K. Sharma, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries, other dignitaries, experts from National and State R&D institutes and participants representing concerned government departments & industries. Sh. Suresh Kumar, FCD informed that the menace of paddy straw burning in fields was a major issue of concern and that the Department of Science, Technology & Environment, Govt. of Punjab has prepared a draft policy for management and utilization of paddy straw in Punjab which would be the focus of discussion of the Conference.

Mrs. Seema Jain, Secretary, Department of Science, Technology & Environment, Govt. of Punjab made a presentation on draft policy framed by her department and mentioned that this policy focused on multipronged approaches & strategies and aimed at maximizing utilization of paddy straw for commercial use (like, power generation, ethanol production, briquette making, paper & board manufacture, mushroom cultivation, etc). She then invited the experts to present their views on draft policy and the available technologies for its commercial utilization. The experts listed several technologies to utilize all fractions of the straw.

Various experts while agreeing to the draft policy, suggested that a three pronged approach be adopted to manage paddy straw, i.e. bringing down its production through crop diversification especially promotion of maize and soya-bean as alternate crops, R & D to develop dwarf varieties of paddy with less silica content and promotion of technologies for its gainful use. The use of paddy straw for power generation was already being promoted but its scale and efficiency needed to be enhanced and better technologies which could overcome the problem of clinkerization in boilers and fouling of super heater tubes be developed/ promoted. The development and promotion of technologies for production of ethanol from paddy straw, its use as fuel briquettes in brick kilns, use in paper & pulp industry and production of straw panels, etc. were also discussed. Vice-Chancellor, PAU, Ludhiana informed that happy seeders and rotavators were very effective for in-situ management of paddy straw. He further informed that to reduce the problem posed by high silica content in present paddy varieties, two new varieties namely, 1509 and Basmati no.3 have been developed with about 30% less plant height.

The progressive farmers of the State also gave their inputs and suggestions for better utilization & management of paddy straw in Punjab. In-situ management of straw was identified as one of the best possible solutions.

In his concluding remarks Hon’ble Chief Minister congratulated Department of Science Technology & Environment and Department of Agriculture for organizing the Consultative Conference for finding potential suitable solutions for effective management of paddy straw in the state. He suggested that industrial use of paddy straw for power generation and ethanol production needed to be promoted to make the collection and use of biomass remunerative for the farmers. He further stressed upon defining catchment area for the user industries and informed that the state would be willing to consider all incentives to promote gainful utilization of straw.

6. Project status
On Going
As a follow-up, the actions being undertaken are as under:

• A group of experts notified to prepare a white paper on Paddy Straw Utilization and Management and an Inventory of Paddy Straw Patented Technologies be prepared and placed in public domain for use by entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.
• Strengthening of Agriculture Service Centers in Punjab to promote farm mechanization and integrating straw management system with combine harvesting.
• Identification of Projects under Public Private Partnership be for funding by Govt. of India and PSCST to promote R&D for use of briquettes from paddy straw as a fuel mix for brick kilns (with PPCB), improved chulhas in rural households (with Sardar Swaran Singh Institute of Renewable Energy, Kapurthala, Punjab) and for use in paper production (with Thapar Centre for Industrial Research and Development, Yamunanagar, Harayana).
• Collaborate of PAU with Agri Machinery manufactures for improvement in agri machinery and promote crop diversification and maximum in-situ utilization of paddy straw.

Since then the Council has already initiated R&D project for use of paddy straw in briquettes for use by brick kilns and is actively exploring funding options for R&D for use of straw in paper production.
8. Tagging