Nainital residents hail government’s initiative to set up biogas plants

Nainital (Uttarakhand), May 3: Residents in the rural regions of Kumaon in Uttarakhand are an elated lot after the state government commenced setting up biogas plants in their villages under the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP) .

Speaking exclusively to ANI at Chakalua village, officials of this project highlighted various facets of the programme, executed in co-operation with voluntary fora active in the region.

With the commissioning of these eco-friendly sources of fuel, the residents in villages in and around Nainital are freed from hassles that they had to face earlier.

The authorities are working almost round the clock at Chakalua village to install more number of biogas plants to connect all the households under this scheme.

The input for these plants is the dung of the livestock owned by the farmers. Apart from generating affordable alternative fuel for cooking, the farmers also gain from good quality organic manure from these plants.

Senior project officer of Nainital district from Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency, L D Sharma told reporters that the authorities are strategically constructing plants where the basic requirements could be met easily.

“Government is operating this National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP) under which we install biogas plants in the habitats of farmers who have adequate number of livestock of cows and buffalos as the source of dung. To meet the energy requirement of the households in that area we are setting the baggage plants,” explained Sharma.

A resident working at one of the plants, Leela Rathore told reporters about the functioning of the plant and as to how it provides them clean and cost effective cooking gas.

“We have constructed this tank in which around 20 to 25 kilograms of dung is mixed with water then this mixture flows further into the three installed tanks and then there is one more tank in which it flows and then the remains are drained out. The remnants are used as organic manure and the gas which is generated is used as fuel for cooking purpose,” said Leela Rathore.

Earlier there was shortage of cooking gas in the region and people had to face a lot of difficulties to acquire a gas cylinder or firewood.

Apart from causing deforestation, firewood as a source fuel also affected the health of housewives like respiratory ailments caused by the smoke.

“Earlier women used to stand in the long queues for gas cylinders for prolonged hours. As a result, there was problem of cooking gas in the village. Women used to face a lot of difficulties to get the cooking gas and they had to spend a lot of money on fuel for cooking. From the time these biogas plants have been installed in the village, the people are able to save a lot of money and time and they are able to cook food easily. Along with this the dung that they use is again reused in the form of manure for their fields, which is of a very good quality,” said a volunteer of non-governmental organisation (NGO) engaged in the NBMMP project, Lata Joshi.

So far the Uttarakhand state government has installed around 1000 biogas plants out of which 546 plants have been executed in Nainital district alone.

Biogas typically refers to a gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas originates from Biogenic material and is a type of bio fuel.

A relatively clean burning, colourless, and odourless gas; biogas is composed of methane and carbon dioxide, depending on the feedstock used.

In India, biogas is predominantly used as cooking fuel. This is because biogas burns without smoke, has high calorific value, can be piped into kitchens directly from a plant and is cost effective. (ANI)