Airbus gives wings to tribals’ dreams - The New Indian Express

Airbus gives wings to tribals’ dreams

Published: 08th November 2012 08:49 AM

Last Updated: 08th November 2012 10:30 AM

Thanks to the Airbus Corporate Foundation’s biodiversity programme, around 37 tribal families, mostly Paniyas, in villages here need not go to the forests to collect firewood for cooking anymore. The foundation has also initiated projects to put them on the path to ecocnomic independence.

The foundation is the charitable arm of Airbus, world’s leading aircraft manufacturer.

A team of employees from Airbus and volunteers of Raleigh International, a UK-based youth and sustainable development not-for-profit organisation, from countries such as USA, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, China and India are constructing biogas units and cowsheds at Mangamvayal, a Paniya tribal village.

Out of the 37 biogas plants, they have already completed 25 units.

“We are in the final phase of completing the biogas plants in the tribal areas of the Nilgiris district bordering Kerala. We are happy that our work on constructing six biogas plants and the same number of cowsheds at Mangamvayal will end next Wednesday. After completion of the units and sheds, beneficiary families will be given two cows each. They will be able to generate biogas from cow dung, which will be used as a cooking fuel,” John Goggin of Airbus, UK, said.

Stephen Prettyman of the Airbus Engineering Centre, USA, said, “We have received good feed back from nearby tribal villages where the project was completed in the last two years. They have stopped collection of firewood from the forests and have started earning money by selling milk. They are also using the leftover from biogas plants as manure for their crops. Above all, their health is improving as there is no smoke from firewood in their houses. We are very much satisfied working with the tribals at Mangamvayal”. R S Ranganathan, managing trustee, the Centre for Tribal and Rural Development (CTRD), said that seven biogas units were set up at Nellimedu, six units each at Kadalakolly, Velleri, Megode, Mangamvayal, five at Kudimery and two at Manalvayal.

The total cost for setting up a biogas unit, cowshed and two cows was Rs 1 lakh, he said. The units have a life span of 25 years. The charity workers have also insured the cows, opened bank accounts in the names of beneficiaries besides enrolling them as members of cooperative milk societies.

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