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Biogas helps noon meal worker overcome cooking problems at anganwadi

Karthik Madhavan

Gas plant linked to public convenience provides fuel that is free from smoke

Photo: M. Govarthan

No smoke: With biogas, cooking has become an easy task for R. Vediyamma, a noon meal worker at an anganwadi in Thindal panchayat. —

ERODE: R. Vediamma, a noon meal worker at an anganwadi centre near Erode, is a lot happier today than she was about a couple of years ago.

Her cooking for the 55 children of the centre has become a lot easier. “No longer do I suffer from smoke from the stove. Also, gone with the smoke is the burning sensation in the eyes,” she says.

This has been made possible by the introduction of gas from the toilet-linked biogas plant.

Tank

Right next to the anganwadi (Government-run child care centre) is a public convenience facility, from where the waste is taken to a septic tank, to which is connected the gas plant.

Called the Dheenabandu Model, the gas plant is beneath the surface in the form of a dome. The gas from there is taken to the kitchen through pipeline.

The Thindal Panchayat carried out the work in Pudu Colony, Karai Parai, in the 2005-06 financial year with support from the State Government. The Government granted a subsidy of Rs. 2,500, say panchayat sources.

Sources in the District Rural Development Agency, Erode, say there are about 10 such toilet-linked biogas plants in the district. These have been installed in noon meal centres in anganwadis as well as schools.

They say that if the capacity of the biogas tank is above 10 cubic metres, the subsidy is Rs. 50,000, which the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency bears.

Back in the anganwadi, the biogas plant has given Ms. Vediamma other benefits as well. She is also free of the task of collecting firewood.

“Earlier I used to walk to several places in search of firewood, and in some cases paid for transportation for my pocket. Now all that is a thing of the past,” she said. At the kitchen too she enjoys a few more benefits.

The firewood stove that consumes 1.5 hours of her time is gone. She now manages to cook within 45 minutes, thanks to the gas stove.

DRDA sources say the introduction of the gas stove has also reduced the consumption of firewood. They said individual houses too could undertake the project and that there was subsidy for that as well.

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