Every home in Paalaguttapalle, Dalitwada has a gas cylinder now. To not have one, as in Varalu' case, is to feel oneself to be the dregs of society.
The village people have been told that unless they acquire a connection for 4000/- Rs, their ration cards will be invalidated. Meetings have been held where all women have been told that firewood cooking, and the smoke therein, is the worst health hazard. Malnourishment as the main health hazard stays unseen and unheard !
I cook only on firewood in the village. Twenty years now, and I know what I am saying.
1. Good dry firewood does not smoke.
2. It is available for the effort of collecting, and saves the precious money for essential food.
But the village poor are going to be finished. First, their livelihoods and earning possibilities are rapidly closing. And the ways they will spend the very limited money they have is all decided through carrots and sticks into every non essential. Toothpastes, instead of neemsticks, cable TV, soaps, and gas. Nothing to cook on the gas is another story...