Once ridiculed, Tamang's biogas plant inspires village
SINDHUPALCHOK, Nov 1: A decade ago when he set up a biogas plant at his home, Kale Tamang, a resident of Thangpalkot VDC of Sindhupalchok district, was virtually ostracized by the villagers.
Thangpalkot locals avoided going near Tamang. Even his relatives stopped visiting him. They ridiculed him for eating food that was cooked using human feces as fuel. How can one eat something cooked with his own excreta, wondered the shocked and baffled villagers.
A decade later, the villagers no longer deride Tamang. Instead, he has now become the local face of change. He has inspired many villagers to set up bio-gas plants of their own.
Today, there are bio-gas plants in all 60 households in Wards No. 1 and 2 of the VDC, which are collectively known as Chilaune village. The villagers do not cut down trees for firewood. Nor do they have to rely on kerosene to light their lamps.
“When I cooked food on firewood, my kitchen would be filled with smoke. It was hard for me to stay inside for long,” says Ramni Lama, a local housewife, adding, “Now, we are all greatly relieved. We don´t have to go into the woods to collect firewood.”
Chilaune has now been declared a smoke-free village. Chilaune, where the indigenous Tamang community predominates, appears neat and clean. All the families have their own toilets at home. The village is open-defecation free.
A pioneer in using bio-gas plants, Tamang says, “Others may inherit land from their fathers, but my children will inherit bio-gas plants from me.” He says he shunned the traditional method of cooking that uses firewood after realizing that health really is wealth.
Tamang´s village did not change overnight. He had to struggle very hard to persuade others to use bio-gas plants also. They took time to understand what Tamang was trying to teach them. The village became eligible to be declared ´smoke-free´ only some three years ago.
As in Chilaune, people in many villages in the district have set up bio-gas plants. According to Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) Nepal, altogether 1,500 bio-gas plants have been set up in various VDCs of Sindhupalchok district as of now.
Bio-gas plants were introduced in Sindhupalchok with the launch of the donor-funded Rural Energy Development Program (REDP) nearly one and a half decade ago.
Villagers setting up bio-gas plants are entitled to certain grants from the government.