Nirmala Das and her family who lived in Abhanga Gram Panchayat (GP) in the aspirational district of Dhalai in Tripura were fortunate to be selected as one of the 45 beneficiaries of a cluster-based model of GOBARdhan plants initiated in her village. The intervention has improved the quality of life for the whole family, also enabling them to earn an additional income while promoting environmental sanitation.
Situated 38 kms from the district headquarters, Abhanga GP is home to 276 households and a population of 2813. Nirmala Das who has been actively participating in the development of the village, especially in maintaining cleanliness and promoting awareness programmes was provided fund assistance of Rs 45,000 for the individual/home-based model under Swachh Bharat Mission- Grameen (SBM-G).
When the GOBARdhan unit was installed in the BPL cardholder’s premises, dung from their cattle, kitchen waste, together with other agricultural waste was fed into the plant. The gas produced was used as cooking fuel. At first, it was challenging to get an adequate amount of cattle dung, given that the scattered households were reluctant to provide the adequate amount of dung as they preferred to use it as fuel or manure for their crops. But when they began to use biogas as fuel which led to the reduction in the use of traditional fuels such as firewood or charcoal, they adjusted to the new system. The family did not have to go in search of firewood as they did earlier and they had more time to engage in other productive activities such as learning or income generation.
Best of all, the family knew that their actions were reducing the environmental impact of waste disposal, pollution, and contamination of water and soil. Additionally, the use of biogas which was a fully renewable and environmentally friendly fuel could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
By promoting biogas plants, the 45 families have also contributed to economic growth, environmental protection, and sustainable development of the community.
Owing to Nirmala Das’ efforts, many other households have shown interest in installing similar biogas plants. The switch to biogas has led to a reduction in the use of traditional fuels. It has also saved time and effort while improving health and well-being by reducing indoor air pollution.
Cluster Model: Under this model, a cluster of households is identified by the GP in association with Cooperatives, Milk Unions, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), SHGs, CBOs developed under DAY-NRLM, Private entrepreneurs, etc. These households should have a minimum of 3 to 4 cattle. Individual household-level biogas plants of 2 cum capacity will be installed in each of the identified households. While the biogas generated can be used by households, the slurry is collected and processed at a slurry processing unit that is managed by the GP or identified agencies/organisation. The funding for the individual household biogas plants will be as per the norms of the New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme (NNBOMP) of MNRE. The slurry processing unit can be funded by the 15th Finance Commission and other sources.