Bargaon: The widespread use of solid fuels such as wood and dung for cooking make households dirty and adds to environment pollution. To tackle this, the ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ was launched in May 2016 to promote clean cooking by providing poor women with free LPG connections.
To estimate the impact of Ujjwala Yojana on forest lands and health of the villagers, our reporters conducted a survey at Phulbari panchayat under Badagaon block in Sundargarh district.
According to villagers, cutting of trees for fuel has reduced the cutting of trees drastically after the introduction of Ujjwala Yojana in their villages.
Sources said villagers of Kueraibaga, Chamunda, Salepali, Birsu and Lakhapada were depending upon the jungle for their everyday use of fuel. They were collecting firewood after cutting the trees like sal, bija and karanj from Mahabir hills. The villagers used to cut down the trees in their half maturity stage.
As a result, though the fuel demands of the family had been fulfilled, the valuable trees had to lose their existence before their maturity. Now, with the number of LPG connections increasing in the villages, cutting of trees has decreased.
When Orissa POST correspondents asked the villagers, they said with the introduction of LPG gas, there is no need to go to the jungle for collecting firewood. Now, trees in the forest can grow properly.
Gita Nayak, a homemaker, said, “After getting cooking gas through Ujjwala Yojana we are not using stoves that need wood fuel. It has good impact both on our health and the environment as there is no need of firewood for our fuel.”
Ratani Kissan of the village said the LPG gave them freedom from smoke and carbon dioxide. “The trees near our village are growing freely. But if the government decreases the price of the gas cyclinders, we will be more benefited,” she said.