Goan Rural Women Await Biogas

Domestic biogas plants are changing the lives of women in Zarap, Maharashtra.

Devidas was so inspired by the success story of the biogas stoves in Zarap, that he was determined to see a similar improvement in the lives of women of his own community in Cotigao. He enquired at the district Agricultural Department and was told that the quota of biogas plants had been exhausted for the last year, and a new round of applications would soon be opening up. Devidas says he wants to get one for his own home, because right now they use firewood and he is increasingly aware of the negative consequences of using wood as an energy source.

The demand for energy in India is increasing at one of the fastest rates in the world, largely due to a combination of rapid economic development and population growth. The country’s insuperable need for sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of energy has resulted in efforts to promote other, alternative sources of energy, such as biogas, or what is commonly called ‘gobar gas’ in India.

Produced from the anaerobic digestion of manure in small-scale facilities, biogas not only produces energy that can be used for cooking stoves, but is also a clean way to dispose of material such as biomass, manure, municipals waste, plant material and sewage. The Deenabandhu Model comprises of a brick kiln-like unit which has a capacity of 2-3 cubic metres, and sells for Rs.14-18,000.

“More than anything,” Devidas says, “it’s the women whose work is made easier. They don’t have to walk far to find wood. And also they don’t have to suffer all the problems that come with burning wood, like breathing problems and eye problems. Even if one person starts using a biogas stove in a village, everyone else will come to know how good it is and also want one.” Devidas is going to show his video to create awareness about biogas in his community, and instruct people on how to go about applying for a subsidized plant.

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