Berhampur: Two years ago, Santosh Sethi decided to quit ironing clothes. The 38-year-old ironer in Basudev Nagar from Berhampur felt it was very difficult to stand near the hot coal-based iron all through the day and press clothes. Santosh, however, changed his mind after one of the customers advised him to go for an LPG-run iron, which will be easy for him to operate.
Since then, times have changed for Santosh. He has been ironing more dresses and his income has also increased by `250 to `300 per day. “It’s smokeless and more effective. Now, I can iron more than 100 dresses as against 50 to 60 pieces using the coal-based iron,” Santosh, a school dropout, informed here Friday.
Santosh runs his laundry outlet from his residence. He said earlier he faced difficulties in getting coal on time, more so during the monsoons. Also, dresses got dirty due to the dust and smoke emitted by coal. After using the LPG iron, all these problems have been solved, he added.
The LPG-based iron functions like a gas stove. It is connected to a cylinder through a pipe, which channels the gas into the iron. The flame can be controlled using both the knob of the cylinder as well as the buttons on the iron, informed Santosh. He claims he is the first person in the district to adopt such a machine. He added that getting LPG cylinders is not a problem.
As the government has reduced the price of domestic LPG cylinders by Rs200 recently, Santosh hopes to earn more in the days to come.
Even though several ironers in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala have switched over to LPG-based iron, in Odisha it is yet to become popular. “It’s time the government provides LPG cylinders to ironers at subsidised rates,” said Sudhir Rout, an environmental activist. Laxmidhar Rout, associate professor of Chemistry at Berhampur University, said burning coal poses health risks for ironers, as it releases sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other toxic substances.