The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on October 13, 2022 has issued Guidelines for grant of one time financial support under the Funds for establishment of to promote utilization of paddy straw.
EPC Funds have been established by the CPCB as a policy instrument for the protection of the environment which comprises funds collected from various industries and units as compensation for damage to the environment and provides for utilization of such amount in terms of an action plan for the protection of the environment.
The guidelines have been issued with twin objectives-
- To enable reduced burning of paddy straw, in Delhi, States of Punjab & Haryana, and NCR districts of Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh, by facilitating establishment of pelletisation and torrefaction plants for paddy utilization.
- Reduce usage of fossil fuels in industries and boilers, by promoting usage of pelletised/torrefied paddy straw.
Burning of paddy straw and its contribution to air pollution in India has been a major concern in the recent years. Delhi NCR and neighbouring States suffer severely due to burning of paddy straws and the Air quality worsens every year causing adverse health impact on masses.
However, due to limited growth of suppliers of biomass, a need was felt to facilitate setting up of paddy straw based pelletisation plants so that it is utilized and the issue of crop residue burning and pollution is adequately addressed.
Therefore, CPCB has now introduced these guidelines which provides financial assistance towards capital investment for setting up of new Pelletisation units/ Torrefaction units in paddy straw fields.
What is Palletization and Torrefaction manufacturing process?
Palletization is the process of converting paddy straw into pellets which can be used in thermal power plants and industries as fuel.
Torrefaction is a process to improve physical properties and chemical composition of biomass.
Paddy straw made into pellets or torrefied pellets can be mixed along with coal in thermal power plants. This saves coal as well as reduces carbon emissions that would otherwise have been emitted were the paddy straw burnt in the fields.
Applicability of the Guidelines
It is pertinent to mention herein that these Guidelines are applicable only to that have been set up by individuals/ companies using paddy straw generated in the NCT of Delhi, States of Punjab and Haryana, and NCR districts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and supply pellets/ terrified pellets to power plants or industries. Only such units shall be eligible for availing one-time financial support under EPC funds.
Scrutiny of Applications
The applications received for sanction of funding under the guidelines will be scrutinized by a Committee comprising of representatives from CPCB, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, National Mission on use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants (SAMARTH), Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas and one-two representatives from State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) from NCR, and would be chaired by the Member Secretary of CPCB.
The total funding sanctioned under the guidelines is of INR 50 Crores, out of which INR 40 crores is earmarked for establishment of non-torrefied palletisation plants, and INR 10 crores for establishment of torrefaction cum palletisation units.
Post-Funding Monitoring by SPCBs
State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are tasked to monitor the progress of the project and ensure its timely completion. SPCB shall periodically monitor paddy straw utilization in the pelletisation plant and ensure that any other crop residue except paddy straw is not used, and that plant is producing pellets only, and not briquettes.
SPCB/PCBs shall also be vested with the powers to physically inspect the Units after its commercial operation to ensure effective implementation of the Guidelines and carry out independent third party audit to ascertain effective utilisation of the funds given to the Unit and take such remedial action including recommendations for withdrawal of the financial support as may be deemed appropriate.
 Guidelines available at https://cpcb.nic.in/openpdffile.php?id=TGF0ZXN0RmlsZS8zNTJfMTY2NTY2Mzk2NF9tZWRpYXBob3RvMzI2MDgucGRm
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