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Villagers make coal from pine needles, weeds

Women self-help groups (SHGs) in remote villages of Lot Bhanwas and Chauri Thatchi in Seraj have started making coal from pine needles, weeds like congress grass and waste foliage under the Rural Innovation Scheme being funded by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

The Mandi Saksharta and Jan Vikas Samiti (MSJVS) implemented the energy-saving project in the district on an experiment basis. It has set up two coal-making machines at the two villages and trained villagers, mainly women, in making coal from pine needles and waste leaves.

Chandra Tiwari, a scientist from the Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), a Dehradun-based NGO, who was here to impart training to villagers, said, “The coal is smoke-free and can be used for cooking and keeping warm in winters”.

“This coal can be made by using 95 per cent pine needles, waste leaves, congress grass and other weeds by mixing it with cow dung or soil,” he said. “One quintal of the material generates 25 kg of coal. The machine runs on a low voltage and weighs 75 kg,” he added.

“One kg of coal lasts for three hours and is not hazardous as it has little carbon dioxide,” he claimed.

The machines have been bought for Rs 62,500 each from the REC. “We are charging a nominal rent from the villagers, who have formed 15 SHGs. If it turns out to be successful, the project will be extended to other villages,” Bhim Singh, co-secretary, MSJVS, said.

 

The Tribune (04-09-2013)