Oil India Limited under its project OIL Urja, has provided fuel efficient chulha (cooking stoves) with chimney to about 3000 households in six tea garden areas under its operational areas in the past one year, a press communique received here stated.
Recently a valedictory function was held in Dighulturung Tea Estate (Tinsukia) and Balijan Tea Estate (Dibrugarh) to mark the successful completion of the project.
“The function was attended by Dilip Kumar Bhuyan (General Manager-Public Affairs Deptt) and other senior officials of OIL & IIE, tea garden managers BS Soklang of Dighulturung TE, Amitabh Baruah of Balijan TE and the beneficiaries from the tea gardens
On May 21 a similar valedictory function was held at Guwahati where Pranjit Deka, Executive Director (HR&A), OIL graced the function as Chief Guest.
The project is being implemented by Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) Guwahati.
The six areas covered were Baghjan, Dighulturung and Nalini of Tinsukia district and Thanai, Balijan and Mukalbari of Dibrugarh district of upper Assam.
More than 15000 family members of the tea garden workers have benefitted from this programme of which 5017 are children and 7814 are women. Most of these beneficiaries are from the lowest income category with a monthly average income of less than Rs.3500.
The total cost of the project is Rs. 1,38,44,000. This project also helped to create 20 tea garden youths develop entrepreneurial skills in chulha and chimney making through training and capacity building.
The aim of this project has been to create a clean energy environment in the tea garden community by ensuring reduction of consumption of firewood and increase of the disposable income of the tea tribe community by reducing procurement of fuel wood for their cooking.
It has been able to achieve the same through creating an enabling environment among tea garden community to adopt clean energy solutions through better informative beneficiary groups about clean energy practices related to cooking, improve health of women by reducing drudgery and reduction in kitchen air pollution. This is the first time that the especially prepared chimney was installed in the kitchen of the beneficiaries which helped to create a smoke-free environment in the otherwise firewood smoke-filled kitchen, the communique further stated.
This unit helped in the reduction of cooking time, reducing kitchen air pollution and most importantly led to the reduction of fuel wood consumption generally used by the tea garden workers.
Most of the households of tea garden workers use conventional cooking system of firewood on a daily basis resulting in indoor air pollution and health problems for the women and their family members like otitis, asthma, low birth weight, tuberculosis, cataract etc.
In order to address these issues the fuel efficient chulhas along with chimneys were provided with the objective of reducing indoor air pollution thereby reducing health hazards and drudgery of women.
This will also reduce use of firewood wood and other biomass and thereby reducing deforestation, the communique further stated.