Pamamma rolls cigarettes in the doorway of her house in Renumakalahalli, a village located not far from Chikballapur in Karnataka. In her village of about 40 houses, women everywhere deftly roll cigarettes through the day. Pamamma is 36 years old and lives with her 60-year old mother and her son, Venkatesh, who is 15.
Pamamma’s husband left home when her son was one. As a single woman, she worked as a daily wage laborer during the day, and rolled cigarettes by night. Most days, Pamamma had very little time left at night to roll cigarettes, after finishing her household chores. She could roll only about 600 cigarettes a day. The numbers came further down on days when the electricity failed, because Pamamma would have to roll cigarettes in the dark.
But now that Pamamma has biogas, she does not need to gather firewood anymore and works less on other people’s land. She can now roll cigarettes even during the day! She rolls close to 1200 cigarettes a day, earning Rs 70 for every 1000 rolled. Her income has almost doubled and, although life is still hard, it’s much better now that they have biogas.
Pamamma has two buffaloes; the dung provides fuel for the biogas installation. She says: “I’m lucky to own two buffaloes. Each gives about two litres of milk every day, which is not much, but thanks to them I do have biogas!”