Ferozepur: The menace of stubble burning during every harvesting season when the whole northern region is engulfed into a smoke causing irreparable damage to the environment and soil could find a viable solution, thanks to the innovative ways propounded by Bhajanpreet Kaur, a plus-two student at SGRM Government Senior Secondary School (girls), Zira, a sub- division of Ferozepur, about how to convert straw (crop residues) into manure, thus checking the double whammy damage of this menace.
This scientific technique that she represented in the Indian Young Innovator and Inventor Challenge (IYIIC), a national level competition for young scientists held at Sigma Group of Institute in Vadodra, Gujarat on May 27 and 28, 2022, earned not only applause from the judging panel that comprised ISRO scientists, but also secured her a berth to participate in the international leg of the competition to be held at Goa from November 23 to 25 later in the year. Notably, IYIIC is a flagship programme of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, kick-started in 2020 to promote outstanding innovative ideas of the young national inventors.
Bhajanpreet Kaur is the only candidate from Punjab among 32 candidates short-listed for participation in the international competition, which was earlier slated to take place in Paris, Italy, and has been relocated to India after Covid restrictions are still in force in the European nation. Bhajanpreet Kaur had earlier emerged victorious in the North Region IYIIC held at IK Gujral Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar in March 2022, where she put forth her scientific innovation about how to turn stubble into manure without burning it and causing an environmental hazard.
Her guide Sukhdeep Singh, a chemistry lecturer in her school, who guided her on how to explore her ideas and how to carry out experiments in the lab and in the field, said that they had to work constantly on the idea and their experiment entailed a minute observation and taking note of every change in the productivity of the soil after spraying their compost solution made from bio- gradable materials. They witnessed how the stubble turned into manure ready to be dissolved into the soil enhancing its productivity, thus doing away with the need of setting the stubble on fire.
Bhajanpreet Kaur, who is the only member of her family to take up the science stream, is very excited to present her findings at the international level and is fully engrossed in her innovative studies. She said she was always worried about the deteriorating health of the soil due to stubble burning. To care for soil and environment is our collective responsibility and only a scientific approach backed by innovative ideas and experiments can show the way, she reiterates.
Rakesh Sharma, Principal of the school, takes a great pride in the feat achieved by Bhajanpreet and feels a real honour in announcing to the world that his student will be representing the state in IYIIC at the international level.
Photo caption: Bhajanpreet Kaur interacting with a farmer in Zira in Ferozepur, educating him the ill effects of stubble burning