As rural women living in Karnataka continue to struggle when it comes to receiving LPG subsidies, many have reportedly shifted to ‘chulhas’ or brick stoves. Due to this, the demand for firewood has gone up. Moreover, women have to walk 3-4 km to the forest to collect 120 kg wood for one house—but that only lasts a week. To help these women and reduce the consumption of firewood, a company has started making and distributing eco-stoves to the women.

Talking about the problem, Sharadhamma, a villager and president of Chetana Women and Community Development Multipurpose Souharda Cooperative Society to TNIE: “Every month, it costs us Rs 1,050 for a cylinder. So we started to depend on firewood, but for that, we needed permission from forest officials, who usually don’t let us in. So we usually enter when they are off-duty. With the chullah, the smoke was a problem for us and vessels would get worn out. Also, during rains, it is difficult to use firewood.”

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“Every month, it costs us Rs 1,050 for a cylinder. So we started to depend on firewood, but for that, we needed permission from forest officials, who usually don’t let us in. So we usually enter when they are off-duty. With the chullah, the smoke was a problem for us and vessels would get worn out”

Another woman, Bhagyamma, member of the women’s federation, lamented that carrying the firewood on their heads gives the women severe back and neck pain. She added that hiring a vehicle to carry firewood for them costs Rs 5,000 every time.

The new eco-stoves allow women to cook faster too, saving them time and effort. “It would take us more than 15 minutes to cook rice, but with this stove, it takes just six minutes,” says S Prema, another villager.

“The stove, that burns on (local) biomass called pellets, is made out of coffee husk. This results in clean and non-smoking cooking. The fan is used to regulate the temperature and all the heat is focused towards the centre, adding more heat to the fire,” said William Peters of BlueMatch Clean Cooking Solutions.

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