ANDHRA PRADESH

Tapping fuel, the eco-friendly way

Ravi P Benjamin

Kambakaya village attracts national attention for using biogas for cooking



Some 250 of the 500 households in the village have biogas plants

Sarpanch gives full credit to NEDCAP for the success story



Srikakulam: Kambakaya in Narasannapeta mandal in Srikakulam district is a model biogas village, with some 250 households out of 500 independently operating biogas plants, which caters to their domestic cooking requirements.

The village is now attracting State and national attention for tapping eco-friendly fuel and contributing to carbon credits.

Interestingly, all households operating biogas plants have spacious backyards for setting up the plant with simple technical know-how and also for storing treated cow dung slurry, which is used as manure.

By producing biogas as an alternative to cooking fuels, including LPG, kerosene, firewood and even electrical stove, the villagers are supplementing to a great extent the use of fertilizer and pesticide as the treated remains after producing biogas is used as manure.

Pioneering effort

Sarpanch Pagoti Raja Rao Naidu was the first to introduce the biogas plant in 1983 with the assistance of NEDCAP. He installed in his own backyard a 2 cubic metre capacity plant, which he says takes care of the cooking fuel requirements of a large family. After Mr. Naidu, many have come forward to experiment the same.

Several organisations and persons dealing in non-conventional energy at the national level have visited the village and are showcasing the same as an eco-friendly one. The village is relatively clean as one does not find cow dung in the streets.

Mr. Raja Rao Naidu told The Hindu that NEDCAP personnel contributed to the success story with their quality work.

He said biogas reaches the kitchen through a pipeline, which is directly connected to the stove.

Manure for fields

“This apart, farmers like me are greatly benefited by the 40-50 bags of manure the plant produces every month. The manure is taking care of diseases that affect paddy crop besides contributing to fertility of the soil,” he said.

NEDCAP Executive Engineer J. Nani Babu has stated that the cost of installation of the plant will just be Rs.9,750. However, the beneficiary has to pay only Rs. 3,500 after taking into consideration the central subsidy and also the State subsidy through the Zilla Parishad.

Utility value

The production of biogas helps in saving a monthly consumption of 280 kg of firewood, 738 cow dung cakes used as fuel, 96 kg of coal, 37 litres of kerosene, 26 kg of LPG and 282 units of electricity.

Mr. Babu says that 660 plants are operating in the district and the number is likely to shoot up to 800 by the end of 2008-09 fiscal. To set up the plant, one has to own 6-10 cows or buffaloes.

The Swami Babu Vajrama Charitable Trust, an NGO, is also engaged in popularising the concept in the mandals of Polaki, Jalamur and Narasannapeta, according to Sankar Rao, field officer.

Tankala Babjee, the founder-member of the trust, is instrumental in propagating the concept and in the establishment of many a gas plant in the district.

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