Bio-Gas: Bonda Tribe Eco-Friendly Energy Solution

Location: Bonda Hills, Odisha

Aim : To introduce and establish biogas as an eco-friendly, healthy alternative to burning forest wood for cooking and other household purposes.

Introduction : The Bonda tribe is one of the most primitive tribes in India. They live in Bonda Hills in Khairput block of Malkangiri District, Orissa. They are divided into Upper and Lower Bondas. The traditional and primary occupation of the Bonda tribe is paddy cultivation. They also engage in gleaning of seasonal forest products, hunting, fishing, animal husbandry.

The making and selling of liquor, and seasonal sale of jungle produce and vegetables in weekly markets and through barter system are some of the ways of supplementing income. The income is meagre and cash in hand is a small amount. Their expenditure is mainly on food, rituals, ceremonies, healthcare and farming. Due to lack of livelihood options, many men and women migrate to cities to earn through labour work.

Currently the community depends on forest wood for cooking. Such traditional cooking practices and prolonged exposure to smoke leads to serious and fatal health complications. Apart from this, with increasing population, the stress on the neighbouring jungles is drastically increasing.

The collection of dry wood is difcult during monsoon and winter seasons. Every household owns cattle and dumps the excess cow dung at various spots in the village which turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pig related diseases like Malaria and Japanese encephalitis apart from dirtying otherwise pristine villages. This excess cow dung creates a perfect opportunity to introduce bio-gas as a safer fuel alternative apart from reducing the burden on forests and keeping the villages clean.