Last week, Vyachakurahalli in Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka was declared as India’s first smokeless village by the union petroleum ministry.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted:
The 275 households in the village now use gas cylinders as they all have converted from the conventional fuel to LPG.
The move came through a pilot project titled ‘Mission Smokeless Village’ by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
It was part of an initiative undertaken by the petroleum ministry to make oil companies adopt different villages.
These companies were asked to work on turning them smokeless by informing people about the importance of using gas stoves.
“The idea was to redeem women’s health. Due to the continuous inhalation of particles, women are more prone to pneumonia due to the usage of firewood as a fuel,” said Moti Sayi Vasudevan, general manager (smokeless villages) at IOC.
Earlier, the women in the village, which is 77 Km from Bangalore, used firewood as a fuel for decades.
Even making a cup of tea was an ordeal for them as the conventional fuel would fill the air with soot. That further hampered their health. A resident of the village, Saraswathamma, said, “I would frequently have bouts of cough due to the continuous use of firewood. This is the best thing that has happened to women in the village.”
As Ratnamma put it: “No more black roofs and black lungs.”
Besides providing the villagers with gas cylinders, women were also taught how to operate an LPG stove. They were also told why it is important to switch off the regulator at the end of the day, why not to leave utensils on the stove and go away, among other things.
The next project will be taken up at Hosur, in Chikkaballapur district.