Pradeep Singh, a farmer from Sonipat, learned through an initiative of Miranda House students how his sugarcane, paddy and, wheat crops are causing pollution and haze in Delhi. As part of Project Dhareya, which involves farmers’ education, students of Delhi University created a system where agricultural and stubble waste can be converted into biomass briquettes.
Pradeep was one of the farmers who was expected to collect his stub to make bricks. He added that farmers in five villages are currently mowing since last winter.
Rishika, a student and vice-president of the college’s Enactus Group, mentioned that Delhi is a notorious gas chamber, which has been burning due to the dangerous level of air burn over the years. With this project, they aim to reduce environmental hazards by efficiently using crop residues to produce biomass briquettes, a compressed block of flammable material used for fuel.
Rishika said the process includes drying, grinding, sneezing, mixing with a binder, compacting, and cooling. They want to provide financial stability to the farming community and reduce the harmful environmental impact of stubble burning.
Singh, have about 30 acres of farmland where he cultivates paddy, wheat, and sugarcane. He said in their Mehrana village, they hardly burn stubble now and take the help of the machine to convert farm waste into briquette.
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As per the students, more than 180 tonnes of sewage waste was collected after each crop since last year. It was restored into briquettes and sold in the market, giving farmers 5,834 rupees every month as extra revenue.
However, when samples of the stubble were collected and transported by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, where they were tested and converted into briquettes, the machine was found to be costly. The students said that this would be a big obstacle in taking the project forward. Pradeep said that he wanted transportation, adequately briquette making machines, and a market to sell the stock.