Village Nandal in Satara District, Maharasthra State, India, with more than 500 households, has become a smoke free village. Every family in this village is now a proud owner of a Bharatlaxmi Stove, which is reducing their fuel consumption by 30% and smoke emissions by 80% as compared to their older traditional stoves. The women also report 30% reduction in cooking time, which is a bonus on top of the health benefits of reduced indoor air pollution.
According to WHO, every year 500,000 women and children die prematurely in India due to various ailments arising from long term exposure to smoke in rural kitchens. The culprit is the traditional cook stove, rather than the fuel (mostly waste woody biomass), which is actually renewable and environment friendly. Thus, when a rural family switches from a traditional stove to an improved stove, it is as good as saving the lives of the women in that family. Cost of improved stoves is always the main barrier for effecting this shift, and therefore this is an area where even a small donation can make a large impact.
Smoke free Village Nandal has been possible through financial assistance of Cummins Diesel Foundation and technical know how of Appropriate Rural Technology Institute. The stoves have been supplied by Samuchit Enviro Tech Pvt Ltd. Each family has contributed just about INR 100 (approx USD 2.5) worth of materials for stove installation. The total cost for installing each life saving Bharatlaxmi Stove was not more than INR 700 (approx USD 15). The project will go on to create more smoke free homes in the vicinity, with installation of 500 more stoves in nearby villages.
In the words of one of the ladies using the stove - ‘Since I got this chulha, there is no smoke in the house. With my previous traditional chulha, I can’t even describe how much my eyes used to water. Now I need only a handful of fuel sticks and the cooking is finished so fast! Earlier even if I cleaned the house every other day, in a short while again it looked dirty. Now I don’t have to clean for 4-5 days, still it is fine.’
“We are very grateful to Cummins for giving us this opportunity. Gifting an improved cookstove is an ideal activity for any corporate for generating goodwill and initiating development activities in the rural community. A cook stove touches the life of the rural woman, and an improved cook stove that eases some of her hardships is greatly appreciated. The stove donors are given access right into the rural family’s kitchen, and therefore right into the people’s hearts.” Said Mr. R.D. Hanbar Deshmukh, Vice President, ARTI.
“This is the first big break we have got for Bharatlaxmi stove. It is heartening that the stove is not only appreciated by the users but that is has also passed the rigorous testing carried out by Cummins India team using six sigma principles. This is very satisfying for me personally as one of the inventors of this stove.” Said Dr. Priyadarshini Karve, Project Co-ordinator, ARTI & Director, Samuchit Enviro Tech Pvt Ltd.
For more information about the Bharatlaxmi Stove, watch our product video.