Panchayats & Rural Development dept to bolster brick-making from fly ash
Kolkata: The Panchayats and Rural Development department has taken up a major project to produce bricks from fly ash.
Eleven fly ash centres are already operational while another 8 are coming up in different districts. The bricks from fly ash are not only eco-friendly, but are also stronger than normal bricks, according to a report of IIT Kharagpur.
Eleven fly ash brick kilns are situated at Bankura (3 centres), Purulia (one centre), Malda (one centre), Nadia (3 centres), East Midnapore (2 centres) and Hooghly (one centre). Eight more kilns are coming up at Howrah, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, Purulia, East Midnapore and north and South 24-Parganas.
The brick kilns are run by Self Help Groups (SHG) controlled by women. Unlike normal brick kilns, there is no environmental pollution. Also, huge space is not required to set up the brick kilns. The Panchayats and Rural Development department installs the machines that produce bricks from fly ash. The price of the machines vary between Rs 6.5 lakh and Rs 12 lakh.
The bricks from fly ash are cheaper than the ordinary bricks. The cost of production per brick is Rs 2 while they are being sold at Rs 4. Ordinary bricks are sold at anything between Rs 8 to Rs 12 per piece.
The brick kilns are constructed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. The fly ash is supplied by the thermal power stations free of cost. The women who run the SHGs have been given training and they are managing both the production and accounts. The bricks are used to construct rural roads and the institutional buildings that are coming up under MGNREGA while the excess ones will be sold in the market.