Gradually, more fly ash brick kilns take shape in Bengal
Production of bricks from fly ash by various self help groups under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme has picked up much pace in Bengal.
To discuss the management of fly ash, the Ash meet 2017 was held in Mejia thermal power station of the DVC. The meeting was chaired by Kalyan Rudra, chairman, state Pollution Control Board where senior officials of the state Panchayat and Rural Development department and their counterparts in DVC also attended it.
The Panchayat and Rural Development department already set up 15 centres to produce bricks from fly ash under the MGNREGA scheme. Of these, 10 centres have started production. In Bankura, three units are functioning followed by two in Nadia and two in East Midnapore. Three units, one each in Purulia, Murshidabad and Malda are functioning too.
The brick kilns are environment-friendly and experts from IIT Kharagpur have certified the strength of the bricks. The installation charges are not high. The machines that convert fly ash into bricks cost anything between Rs 6.50 lakh to Rs 10 lakh depending on their capacity. Notably, fly ash is sent to the brick manufacturing units free by the DVC.
The production cost of bricks varies between Rs 2 and Rs 2.50 per piece and is sold at Rs 6.50 per piece. For the economically challenged, they are sold at Rs 4. It may be mentioned that normal bricks in the open market are being sold at anything between Rs 8 and Rs 8.50 per piece.
Those made from fly ash are used to construct rural roads and institutional buildings under various MGNREGA schemes.