Grasim — Making a difference to the women folk in Makla village

Biogas plants enable women of Makla village to cook in healthier environment and

young girls to focus on studies

To improve the health of women, Grasim Industries Ltd. in association with the Khadi

and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is promoting the use of biogas (popularly

known as gobar gas) as an alternative source of energy for cooking at Makla village

near Nagda in the Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh. Grasim as part of its Corporate

Social Responsibility (CSR) is helping construct biogas plants that will change the socio-
economic condition of the villagers, especially womenfolk and school going girls.

Traditionally, village women have used wood and cow dung cake-fired chullahs for

cooking. But since the chullahs emit toxic smoke, most village women face health issues.

Moreover, young girls have to devote time collecting wood from nearby areas which

impedes their education.

Commenting on this CSR initiative, Shri Siddhartha Banerji, President of Grasim’s Nagda

plant, said, “At Grasim Industries we take our social responsibilities seriously and work

actively to improve the lives of the communities and stakeholders in the area where

we operate. Biogas plants in Makla are changing the lives of women. Now they enjoy

cooking without inhaling toxic smoke and in much less time. We are happy to see this

socio-economic change in the village.”

Before Grasim stepped in to provide and promote biogas use, the Makla villagers were

also facing an acute shortage of wood for cooking. The forest cover of Malwa has all but

disappeared and cow dung cakes are now not a popular option as a source of energy as

making them is a time-consuming and arduous task.

After a detailed situation analysis, Grasim decided to set up biogas plants as an

alternative source of energy for cooking. Keeping in mind the multiple benefits of biogas,

volunteers from Grasim initiated discussions with the villagers about biogas as an option

for cooking fuel.

Shri Bhom Singh, a resident of Makla village, said, “Biogas has multiple benefits and

can easily meet a household’s energy needs. It is not harmful for women like traditional

chullahs. Village girls now can go to school instead of collecting wood for cooking. Also,

we are getting good quality manure for fields from biogas plant. Grasim has indeed

changed our lives.”

After rounds of discussions on biogas and visits to areas that have adopted biogas as

source of energy, one Makla household finally consented to construct a biogas plant.

The benefits of using were there for all to see. Soon more villagers approached the

company’s volunteers to set up plants in their homes. Within a month, nine more plants

were constructed in the village and more are on the anvil. “This is a step forward in

making a difference to the lives of the village women and girls”, avers Mr. Bannerji.