Fact Check : Was PM Modi’s biogas comment just hot air?

For the last two days, some twitter handles tried to make fun of Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding a particular part of a speech that he made at the inauguration of World Biofuel Day. In that speech, as an example of small-scale innovation, PM Modi said he read in a newspaper, the story of a tea-seller who makes tea using the biogas generated from an adjacent sewage as fuel. Quite a few troll handles and media-persons, many of whom spare no effort in defending claims of ‘connecting MRIs’ or ‘aloo ki factory’, tried to mock the PM for his ‘unscientific claims’.

Before we see why the PM’s anecdote is no laughing matter, here are some ill-informed tweets on the issue.

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Journalist Shahid Siddiqui jumped to ridicule it.

Soon Sagarika Ghose endorsed Siddiqui.

Even Jansatta ran a superficial, uninformed report on how some people trolled PM Modi’s speech.

Not surprisingly, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too jumped in. But the joke is really on Arvind Kejriwal as this IITian is ignorant about the fact that combustible gas is emanated by certain kinds of waste.

Here are some reports for the uninformed naysayers.

In 2013, The Hindu has reported about a village that has been using sewage gas for cooking.

If we need an example outside India, Chicago also has done it.

Even after knowing all the facts and possibilities about using sewage gas for cooking, if one tends to argue that it might only be possible in large scale but not on an individual scale as PM Modi narrated, then perhaps they are undermining the wisdom of the common people of this country. Here is a news report from CG Khabar dated 2014, that shows how the exact same thing that PM Modi mentioned has been done by a Chhattisgarh man.

There are also stories about people discovering energy sources in their fields such as this instance. This Madhya Pradesh family reportedly found combustible gas fuel in their long-unused borewell and have been using it for cooking. This is possibly methane.

There are many other such small-scale innovations possible as shown here and many people do this in a matter of fact way. Only those who have never ventured out to see would be ignorant of such possibilities.

When Prime Minister Modi spoke about a tea-seller who made use of sewage gas to make tea, he was essentially appreciating the innovative mind of common citizens. Trying to make fun of this, many turned themselves into a joke.

(the article was first published on www.thetruepicture.org)

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