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Eco-friendly Cooking In Tribal Hostels

Bhubaneswar: Heralding a new era of environment awareness and spreading the message right from the school level, the ST&SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department has decided to convert all traditional kitchens inside its residential schools and hostels to “Eco-friendly” ones and stop use of conventional methods of cooking across the State.

Secretary ST&SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare, Roopa Roshan Sahoo, in a letter to all Collectors on Wednesday, directed all the schools, hostels and establishments under the Department to adopt the “Eco-friendly” campaign and convert all the kitchens to LPG-based cooking environment.

While at present, there are 1,736 schools functioning under the administrative control of the ST&SC Development, M&BCW Department, there are around 6,000 hostels across the State including the hostels under Anwesha and Akankhya Programme in which more than 5 lakh ST&SC students altogether have been housed.

The Government has consistently taken sincere steps for smooth functioning of the above residential facilities by providing better and improved amenities including strengthening of infrastructure. Similarly, the entitlements of the boarder students have been expanded by providing winter clothes, casual dresses, improvement in diet etc.

“Now, this has been decided to add one more improvement, particularly for strengthening the cooking facilities in the institutions while phasing out the conventional methods by LPG so as to ensure a green and healthy alternative in and around the hostel kitchens. During coming two years i.e. 2024-25 and 2025-26, all the hostels shall have LPG based cooking facilities,’’ added the communication.

During 2024-25 all High Schools (422), Higher Secondary Schools (62), Biju Pattnaik Adarsh Vidyalaya (1), Kalinga Model Residential School (5), Anwesha Hostels (93) are included in the above plan of having “Eco-friendly” kitchens which shall include 1,222 hostels wherein 1,76,000 boarders are residing. The remaining schools and hostels shall be covered during 2025-26.

To implement the plan, additional funds have been provisioned in amenities sector in Annual Budget 2024-25 over and above the fuel charges. The provision of cooking gas chullah, LPG cylinders, fuel etc. has been incorporated in the entitlements and amenities guidelines.

During first phase of the year 2024-25, all hostels in 50 High Schools, 20 Higher Secondary Schools, 5 KMRS, 1 BPAV and 25 Anwesha Hostels shall be taken up and completed by 30 June 2024. “The selection of specific school and hostel should be decided at district level and communicated to the Department,” the letter has stated.