I had been to some slums and sex workers areas in Mumbai to study their stoves.
Observations from first field visit:
Visited the areas in parts of south Mumbai, brothels in Kamatipura and slums for seeing the stoves in use and conditions. The stoves are inefficient, in some parts near the railway lane people use wood from the packaging waste (Rheay road). In places like Kamatipura, they are using both wood, charcoal and kerosene. In few areas mainly coal is used for large scale cooking. For a family of 5 members the cost of cooking ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs 1500 per month. This is because they don't have ration cards (need to purchase fuels in open market at a higher rate) and also for using inefficient stoves (three stone stoves / tin boxes). The total amount spent on energy for capita for cooking is very high for these poor people. A good example that the government schemes are not accessible to the poorest of the poor. They also face harassment from municipal administration for cooking in the open and often need to pay fine upto rs. 1500 if caught. It happened that during the visit, thinking us a municipal people, in a slum they started extinguishing their stoves and running into their homes. Their houses are so small that they are forced to cook in the open, the vehicular movement, creates variable air pressure and the cooking becomes difficult. During monsoons it is further more difficult to cook, as they cannot cook inside due to smoke and the biomass fuel remains moist. During discussions, the community agreed to pay up to rupees 500 if they can have a good stove. Their willing to adopt efficient stoves for saving fuel is very high. Magh CM good stove was made at Mumbai, using locally available steel material. It was demonstrated at SAI office twice, to the SAI staff and volunteers. There is a potential of at least 100000 good stoves for facilitation in the Mumbai region. The local enterprises can be facilitated with community participation and networking in the dissemination of the Good stoves and also creating livelihood opportunities to many Didis.
Visited the SAI, Bhiwandi field site. This place is very good surrounded by the hills and tribal villages. On the way observed that the grass in the hilly areas is being burnt, the burning of biomass has higher percentage of biochar as compared to the sticks. And also in many places traditionally they burn the crop residue. There is need to educated and create awareness among the local people in these areas on the use of biochar. The micro enterprise can be initiated with the local community participation for biochar production, Biochar compost, biochar vermicompost, etc, Biochar based readymade preparations for sale. The biochar can be used for plant nurseries too. The bio-intensive vegetable gardens can be initiated for the needs of the SAI ashram.
There is good spring and groundwater potential in the SAI ashram (shelter for destitute AIDS patients and sex workers). Mumbai is known for ornamental fishes marketing. There is good potential for raising ornamental fishes and sale. There are atleast three varieties of ornamental fishes in the stream, as they are adaptable, the same fishes can also be raised. The ladies working on these fishes will be happy and get connected to the life.
We have seen Emu birds farm near Bhiwandi, these birds has good potential as income generation. We could look at the feasible options as there is requirement of investment. The returns are promising.
The SAI team is highly motivated and committed. The work of SAI is inspiring and we can realize livelihood security for these poor and vulnerable communities.
GEO is thankful for giving us an opportunity to visit the communities and understand the lives of people and to be part of planning livelihood opportunities. Thank you very much, Vinay and everyone associated with the SAI family.