Bishnupur becomes Assam’s first smokeless kitchen village

Bishnupur becomes Assam’s first smokeless kitchen village | Guwahati News - Times of India
All 70 households in Cachar’s Bishnupur forest village now have a unique cooking stove made of soil, cow dung and rice husk.
It not only consumes 40% less firewood but also provides 100% smokeless kitchens in the village. Last week, the environment and forest department officially declared it as the first smokeless village in Assam.
According to the Union health ministry, 83% of women living in rural India die because of inhalation of smoke in the kitchen. The first smokeless village in Assam is a part of an initiative undertaken by a project called the “National Appropriate Mitigation Initiative” (NAMA). The initiative is underway in different parts of the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Bidhan Mohanta, local consultant of the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) who is heading the smokeless movement in the village, said that they had to begin with an awareness campaign to make people understand the ill effects of smoke that is generated when they cook with firewood. Mohanta said that the project has been carried out jointly by the Assam forest department, Assam Energy Development Agency (AEDA) and Assam branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA) jointly under NAMA.
According to the TERI consultant, a total of 70 households in the entire village have built smokeless kitchens with this improved cooking stove. “Our survey found that in traditional cooking process, a family of four persons with a cow requires 16 kg of firewood per day and 5.5 tons of firewood in a year. This improved stove leads to at least 40% less firewood consumption,” said Mohanta.
He informed that the chimney is provided free of cost by the forest department and the agency. “The people of other villages also got excited with the new idea and requested the forest department to install it in their villages, he added.
Maya Bauri, a village woman said, “As a result of cooking in this oven, 8-9 kg of firewood is being consumed daily. At the same time, cooking is being done in lesser time. Once the stove becomes hot, it does not cool easily. So the foods can be kept warm for long hours.”
According to a senior Cachar forest official, there are plans to implement the project in 5,000 houses in 40 forest villages in the district.
According to the 2011 census, 82% of Assam’s households or more than 48 lakh people are completely dependent on firewood.

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