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Gujarat's 16% urban, 80% rural households use firewood for cooking, much higher than all-India average

By Our Representative
A new Government of India report has revealed that, despite huge claims of rise in livelihood standards over the last one decade, the use of firewood and chips as the chief source of cooking is higher in Gujarat compared to most of India. In Gujarat, 79.7 per cent of rural and 15.9 per cent of urban households use firewood and chips as against the all-India average of 67.3 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The figures in a National Sample Survey Organization survey show that, in Gujarat’s rural areas, 13.9 per cent of households use LPG for cooking, as against the all-India average of 15 per cent. As for the urban households, Gujarat’s 62 per cent households use LPG for cooking, as against the all-India average of 68.4 per cent.
The rural areas of states which have higher dependence on LPG – considered environmentally safe and a symbol of using “better” cooking techniques – than Gujarat are Andhra Pradesh (28.9 per cent), Assam (17.2 per cent), Haryana (26.7 per cent), Karnataka (14.17 per cent), Kerala (30.8 per cent), Maharashtra (23.1 per cent), Punjab (30.9 per cent), and Tamil Nadu (37.2 per cent).
As for the urban areas, the data suggest, the states with a higher use of LPG for cooking are Andhra Pradesh (77.3 per cent), Assam (71 per cent), Haryana (86.5 per cent), Karnataka (64 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (65 per cent), Maharashtra (74.5 per cent), Punjab (75.4 per cent), Rajasthan (71.6 per cent), Tamil Nadu (70.9 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (66.8 per cent).
The data are considered significant, as they come with increasing realization among experts that firewood and chips are a major source of greenhouse gas emission in India. They lead to the release of black carbon, which lead to severe air pollution, and are also a root cause of cardiovascular and respiratory related deaths. Official documents advise the use of LPG or improved biogas cooking as an urgent alternative.
Wood smoke is said to contain "fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs". It also contains "chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin", say experts, pointing towards how it interferes with normal lung development in infants and children.
A further breakup reveals that the dependence on firewood and chips for cooking is particularly high (92.6 per cent) among rural Gujarat’s tribal households, who make up 15 per cent of the state’s population. This is against the all-India average of 87 per cent.
As for Gujarat’s urban areas, where tribals make up large number of the migrant population involved in different types of construction activities, a whopping 29.5 per cent of the tribal households use firewood and chips for cooking, as against the all-India average of 23.9 per cent.
The situation with other sections of the vulnerable population of Gujarat is almost similar. In Gujarat, 77.7 per cent of the rural scheduled caste (SC) households and 14.5 per cent of urban SC households use firewood and chips for cooking, as against the all-India average of 69.8 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.
As for the OBCs, Gujarat’s 82.7 per cent of rural and 31.9 per cent of urban households use firewood and chips for cooking, as against the all-India average of 66.4 per cent and 17.7 per cent respectively. Conversely, a lesser per cent of economically weaker sections use LPG in Gujarat.
Thus, the data, for instance, show that just about 0.3 per cent of the agricultural workers use LPG as fuel, as against the all-India average of 4.6 per cent. The states with even lesser per cent of agricultural workers using LPG are just four -- Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttarkhand and West Bengal.

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Hardik Parikh said…
Please quote the name of the report and please provide the link to the report in case it available online.

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