Bihar to Replace Chulhas With LPG Stoves at Anganwadis
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Patna: Bihar’s Anganwadi sevikas and sahayikas like Sanju Devi, Ramni Devi, Bakhua Khatoon and Anju Kumari are happy after the Nitish Kumar government announced on Wednesday to replace earthen/kerosene stoves with LPG stoves for cooking at all the 1.15 lakh centres.
Every centre would be provided with two LPG cylinders and a stove. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Kumar.
“It is a big relief for us. It will eliminate the burning of wood, smoke and pollution. Our eyes won’t burn, and we won’t cough or pant. We would cook for children using LPG,” Sanju, a sevika at the Danapur Anganwadi centre, Patna, told Newsclick.
“I have been cooking on chulha for nearly a decade, which is not good for my health nor children playing around. Some health workers informed us that burning wood in chulhas causes health problems and is also bad for the environment,” the middle-aged sevika added.
Ramni, a sahayika at Patna's Naubatpur Anganwadi center, feels the same way. “Smoke causes health problems. Besides, it takes hours to cook on chulhas. Using LPG will save time, and we will give more attention to children,” she said.
Bakhua, another sahayika at an Anganwadi centre in a village in the Aurangabad district, said that using LPG would benefit workers and children and reduce pollution. “We inhale a lot of smoke and children complain of uneasiness. We are eagerly waiting for the arrival of LPG cylinders,” she said.
Anju, a sevika at an Anganwadi centre in the Gaya district, said the workers would give more time to children. “We struggle to cook on chulhas and it is difficult to take care of children and teach them. Now, we can take care of children properly,” she said.
Thousands of Anganwadi sevikas and sahayikas, who are lowly paid contractual workers, have repeatedly protested in the last two years demanding a hike in honorarium, government employee status and pension.
According to scientists and environmentalists, using wood and kerosene harms health and the environment. The chulha is widely considered as one of the major contributors to air pollution in rural areas. Scientific studies have highlighted that chulha produces carbon dioxide, methane and particulate matter, contributing to global warming. Besides, tonnes of wood needed for chulhas affect the forest cover.
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