Astra Ole Diffusion Programme

In Karnataka 80% of the rural energy needs are met by fuel wood. Most of the traditional domestic wood burning stoves are not very efficient and use only 10-15% of the head provided by burning the fuel wood. A smokeless, 3 pan efficient stove, was developed. The stove has an efficiency of 40-50% if properly constructed and used. The stove has been named ASTRA OLE.

The stove is essentially built using bricks and mud, at homes of the users. It has a chimney and a few metal lids. The Government of Karnataka adopted the stove for propogation under the centrally sponsored 'National Project on Demonstration of Improved Chulas'.

In order to construct Astra Ole in villages, the KSCST had adopted a two tier training programme. A batch of 19 project Assistants, one for each district, was trained for 15 days of Ungra Extension Center of the I.I.Sc., in Astra Ole construction. These project Assistants were then moved to different districts to carry out training of local artisans. The training camps were of 12 days duration, had about 16 artisans per camp and 50 to 60 stoves were built during each camp. So far 4,245 artisans have been trained in the State. The stoves which were built initially under NPDIC, are now built under other schemes such as People Housing Scheme, National Rural Employment Programme, Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme etc. Each stove carries a subsidy of Rs. 75 from the Government. KSCST has produced a 16 mm colour documentary film on Astra Ole in Kannada and the film has been given to each district head quarters.

A census survey was initiated in nine talukas in the State to assess the field performance of the stove. It was found that about 20% of the stoves were not functioning well.

An evaluation of fuel consumption and user response was conducted in three different food zones in the State, namely ragi zone, jowar zone and rice zone. Nearly 75% of the houses in the jowar zone prefer 2 pan stoves instead of the 3 pan stoves.

However in the ragi zone, only 42% of the users preferred a two pan stove. With regard to the performance of the stove, more than 75% of the users felt that cooking with Astra Ole takes less time, consumes less fuel and there is no smoke in the kitchen. The users also indicated the inability of the stove to accept vessels of widely differing size, as a problem.