Food, meal, bhojan, khana whatever we say is something we start and end our days with. Generally our mothers, house helps or any other female member of family prepares the meal, they prepare it with lots of love and patience but apart from love and patience what also goes into it is time and energy. Women in urban areas have it a bit easy for them as they cook food on gas cylinders or inductions but what about women in rural areas they have to put their energies every day in collection of firewood, crop waste or cow dung pellets. The amount of smoke produced during preparation of meals settles in their lungs which later causes many health issues, not only this but also the air pollution caused due to heavy smoke produced by the burning of cow dung cakes, the cutting of trees for the firewood collection is also matter to be pondered upon.
Interestingly a new initiative with a catchy slogan “GOBAR DEEBO, GAS LEEBO” in Maithili– a language spoken in Bihar’s Madhubani district which means: Give us cow dung, take back a gas cylinder” is gaining popularity among the residents of Sukhet village panchayat.
In month of February Samastipur based Dr Rajendra Prasad Agricultural University chose Sukhet village for Climate Vigilant Agricultural Program and introduced locals to the technology of making vermicompost by using household waste and cattle dung and in return each household would receive a free refill of cooking gas cylinder.
This initiative is the brainchild of Dr Ramesh Chandra Srivastav VC of RPAU, one of vermicompost pioneers who is on a mission to popularize the importance of uses of vermicompost. Although PM Ujjawala scheme was launched in 2016 but it’s success was only up to 26 to 70% across various states, moreover LPG prices have discouraged the village folks to make a switch. Therefore to find a solution to this issue RPAU came with a unique and sustainable solution to achieve rural sanitation through a door to door collection of household waste; making economic utilization of agro waste; monetizing cattle dung to pay for the LPG refill and also creating job opportunities in the village itself.
Although the initiative involves right now only 50 women, there is long way to go, and we must also remember that great and big things take time.