8 4.1 Increasing Crop Diversification 4. Mitigation Options for the Stubble-burning Problem the source areas. The sensors were developed by project members Y. Matsumi and T. Nakayama, with the cooperation of Panasonic Inc. (see Nakayama et al., 2018 for details on the PM2.5 sensor). The installation sites were selected based on the prevailing northwest winds from the Punjab to Delhi-NCT, because (as mentioned in 2.2) the seasonal winds change direction in early November and transport air pollutants from the Punjab to Delhi city. Near real-time measurements were taken from September 1 to November 30, 2022. The uniqueness of our method lies in the fact that many of the sensors were densely located in rural areas rather than urban areas. Our measurements revealed that all target areas were covered by polluted air masses, which demonstrated that Delhi’s air pollution was not just a Delhi problem. The entire northwestern region of India was covered by a single smog dome (Singh et al., 2023). Local residents in the agricultural areas are also being exposed to health problems due to the severe air pollution. Until now, the urban-centered monitoring of air pollution has left the people in rural areas unaware of the risks. In parallel with the air quality measurements, we conducted a questionnaire survey of farmers living in the Punjab in 2020, which revealed that they had little awareness of the consequences their stubble burning was having on Delhi-NCT. By publishing the results of the measurements, we hope to bring about a change in the behavior of all parties involved, recognizing not only the impact on Delhi, but also the fact that it is the rural people who are exposed to the greatest health risks. In Section 2, I described how the cultivation system in the Punjab region became biased toward double cropping of rice and wheat. The cultivation of traditional products (e.g., pulses, maize, oilseeds, cotton, sugarcane) declined after the Green Revolution (Singh et al., 2011; Vatta and Budhiraja, 2021), and reversing this trend, thus reducing reliance on the rice–wheat system and increasing crop diversification, was an attractive mitigation option. To ensure long-term sustainability, the Indian government needed to take corrective measures in the country’s production system, which led to the establishment of three commissions: the Jowl Commission in 1986, the Jowl Commission in 2002, and the Alag Commission in 2005 (Vatta the recommendations of those committees to reduce rice and wheat acreage and switch to other crops, rice and wheat acreage increased. There are many reasons for the failure of crop diversification. The rice-wheat rotation was clearly economically advantageous, and other crops lagged far behind in terms of profitability (Vatta et al., 2013). For farmers rice is a low-risk operation protected 2013). However, et al., despite S. HAYASHIDA 4.2 Compensation 4.3 Subsidies for Introduction of New Machinery (In-situ Straw Management) Paying compensation every year to stop rice-stubble burning is not considered a sustainable measure (Irwin, 2014). The central government of India believes it would be more beneficial to introduce new types of agricultural by the MSP, and there is no reason for them to convert to other crops. To promote crop diversification, it is important to secure markets and stabilize the prices of the alternatives. In the Aakash Project, we are working with Lovely Professional University (LPU) in the state of Punjab to conduct growing experiments and identify viable crops of high economic value as an alternative to rice production. In parallel, we are seeking cooperation from Japanese companies to discuss crops that could be purchased. In addition, we are experimenting with the production of biochar from agricultural residues in LPU fields, with the aim of developing new agricultural technologies and markets aimed at carbon fixation. Farmers can use machinery to re-cut the long stubble after harvesting, and the straw scattered throughout the field can be used for purposes other than burning, but this requires hiring workers to collect and remove it from the field. Pant (2013) recruited farmers from the southern lowland Terai region in Nepal and invited them to submit “sealed bids” for compensation to refrain from burning for a season. He found that the median value of the bids was around 78 US dollars (USD) per hectare, i.e., farmers were willing to accept roughly this amount to stop burning (Pant, 2013; Irwin, 2014). On November 7, 2019, the Supreme Court of India ordered the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to pay a reward of 100 Indian Rupees (INR) per quintal, corresponding to about 3,000 INR per acre, within a week to farmers who stopped stubble burning in non-basmati rice cultivation. This was in response to severe air pollution in Delhi-NCT that had been reported one week previously (November 8th, Tribune). During this same period, significantly reduced visibility in the Punjab was also reported. Conversion based on the exchange rate at the time shows a reward amount of about 73 USD per hectare, comparable to the amount suggested by Pant (2013). When we visited the Cooperative Society of Latala Village in the Ludhiana district of Punjab in November 2019, farmers there indicated that most farmers would accept this amount of compensation to stop burning. On November 9, the Punjab state government, following a Supreme Court directive, initiated the reward payment process. However, because of many flaws in the system and the occurrence of fraudulent payments, it was soon suspended, and almost no compensation was ultimately paid.

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