Sixteen Gold Award participants accompanied by two mentors went for a 5-day Residential Project to Shuklapur from 26th to 30th September 2016. The project involved constructing of two bio gas plants and exposure to the farm life of the villagers in Shuklapur village. Vinayak Agarwal, a Gold Award participant sharing his experience with us.
“Over the next five days, you will undergo pressure and not the laid-back physical attitude which a layman can withstand, but one which will strain you and engross your minds to an unimaginable extent.” This was our seemingly peculiar introduction to the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO). The following five days, our two mentor teachers Mr. R. Srikanth and Mr. P. Chaturvedi and we, experienced the substantiation of the aforementioned statements.
The first day we had an introduction to the Padma Shri Awardee Mr. Anil Prakash Joshi, in which he expressed his dissatisfaction about the way developed or developing countries were striving for economic prowess, notwithstanding the fact that the very foundation on which all of their economics lies, is agriculture. India, despite being an agrarian society, had turned oblivious to its invaluable backbone, he said, and with this, we strive to do much more than any other could have, in the given time frame.
On our tour of the Isotope Hydrology Centre and HESCO, we came across a multitude of attention-grabbing things but all of them seem to diminish compared to what lay ahead. The task at hand was to construct two bio gas tanks. All we had was some basic tools and two experienced guides. On arrival at the village, which we had reached scurrying past lush meadows, we were greeted by the warmhearted residents. The task unpredictably turned out to be a very meticulous one, for it required the holes, drills, and cuts to be made at precise locations, which if dealt carelessly, could result in the wastage of two precious resources -- time and money. This tank would be utilized by the villages for household work, such as using the gas in stoves instead of LPG. The tank puts to use the otherwise wasted organic material and slurry and, over a period of days, turns it into bio gas. Through means of anaerobic fermentation, in a sealed enclosure, the methane gas is produced. What’s more is that the remnants in the tank can be used as organic manure. Two of these particular constructions were done within two days, discounting the request of our guides to ‘go slow’. The remaining task now was basic manual work related to agriculture. However, on ground, the work was physically excruciating, to say the least. Nonetheless, with the division of work among 16 Award participants, four pastures were converted into garden farms, which were to be utilized by the villages to grow subsistence for their daily needs.
All through this, we had lively interactions with the villagers through which we got to know a lot about life in a village. The ever so welcome attitude of theirs, not to mention the food back at the camp, had made us feel at home. Moreover, the team at HESCO with their heart-warming approach and far reaching outlook gave us a sense of satisfaction, for it was because of such people that one could have an experience so great that it is worth being etched in our memories forever.