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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Non-conventional: Ramanamma working at the biogas plant at her home. -Photo: KV Poornachandra Kumar
Non-conventional: Ramanamma working at the biogas plant at her home. -Photo: KV Poornachandra Kumar
It took the implementation of an idea that occurred as a flash in K.Ramanamma that resulted in saving of Rs.700 in terms of firewood or Rs.900 in terms of LPG consumption every month. More than that, the path she has embarked on has helped the Mother Earth go green!
Ramanamma, wife of K. Marappa Reddy, cooks midday meals for school children of Diguva Chennamarri in Kurabalakota Mandal of Chittoor district. The arduous task of procuring firewood from the nearby woods and cooking food for 30-40 children made her think of an alternative. The biogas plant sanctioned to her by NABARD in her individual capacity was put to use for the community purpose. As she has two cows and 80 sheep at her barn, the dung thus generated started going into the biogas plant, leaving her with virtually no ‘physical ordeal' to go in search of fuel. She is happily able to cook rice and curry with biogas.
As natural fallout, all the remaining 29 households got 26 biogas plants and three solar cookers installed, thus making the village tread the eco-friendly route. Though the semi-literate Ramanamma could not go beyond the direct benefits, Non-conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NEDCAP) authorities put the reduction of carbon dioxide emission per year at a whopping 86 tonnes, saving of firewood at 60 tonnes and LPG at 5 tonnes for the village. “The biogas plants alone generate organic fertilizer weighing 450 tonnes per year”, NEDCAP District Manager C.B. Jagadeeswara Reddy told The Hindu .
When so much can happen from an innocent woman's initiative, why cannot the State concentrate on alternative sources of energy, especially in the rural areas where cow dung and sunshine are abundant? Every Panchayat school has a kitchen and enough space to stack fuel (firewood).
If biogas plants are built there, cooking will be hassle-free and women engaged in the task can actually see more savings, apart from cutting environmental cost. For those who strain their eyebrows on how and where from to fetch cow dung, Ramanamma says: “Simple. Everybody sells excess cow dung for Rs.1,000 per tractor load and Rs.10 per thatta (basin). The State can procure at a much lesser cost”.
Are the policymakers and administrators listening?
Ramanamma switches to biogas plant for cooking midday meal, spurring the remaining 29 households of the village to follow suit


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