Agra, March 20 : An experimental project to produce “gobar-wood” for holi has offered new hope to bring down pollution levels in the Taj city.
For the past one month, inmates of district jail have been producing five to six quintals of “gobar-wood” which is now available at selected outlets in the city for ritualistic burning in the Holi fire.
“Gobar-wood” is made by compressing cowdung in a machine to produce logs of three-feet and longer that look like wood.
The local Satya Mev Trust installed three machines to promote “gobar-wood” in place of fire-wood obtained by felling green trees. “It is an excellent alternative to firewood and the quality is better and the emissions are cleaner,” Mukesh Jain, a trustee, told IANS.
The district jail has around 180 cows so raw material is available in plenty.
Packed in 50 kg bags, the gobar-wood is sold for Rs 6 a kg to popularise its use in havans, Holi burning, and daily puja in temples.
“We are exploring how firewood use could be replaced by gobarwood at the cremation grounds in the city,” Supreme Court monitoring committee member Raman, who uses onl one name, told IANS.
“Gobar-wood is being made at Apna Ghar on Bharatpur Road, Ram Lal Ashram and the district jail. If you want to increase the calorific value, you can add dried leaves, grass, sawwood dust. It produces very little smoke and is well tolerated. We are keeping the costs competitive.
“It is a much better substitute for firewood. The machine cost is hardly Rs 50,000 and only three workers are required. Drying the gobar wood takes time but now that summer is there, it should be easy. We hope more and more people switch over to gobar wood in the interest of saving forests and environment,” Raman explained.
“Those who have used it once, have expressed satisfaction with the quality,” Nand Kishor Goyal, a member of the team, said.