From firewood to LPG : Transforming relief camp kitchens

Lt Col L Manongba *

Chakhum-gi Meiri Mission of providing LPG facilities at all valley relief camps was completed on December 25, 2023 with the visit to Akampat and Sawoumbung relief camps of Imphal East. While the world celebrated the joyous Christmas, our team was out to complete the task. We handed over LPG Heavy duty stoves & LPG initial refill charges to the “One Hundredth Relief Camp''.

Mission accomplished with 200 heavy duty LPG burners and cash support for 200 cylinder refills.

Today, the Chakhum-gi Meiri team visited the largest relief camps at Ideal Girls College, Akampat of Imphal East with 886 IDPs fully dependent on firewood for daily cooking needs.

In this community kitchen, cooking is done using 25 large utensils, known as “Korfus”. In the morning, cooking occurs 2 to 3 times, with 8 Korfus used at a time (16 for rice and 8 for curry). The same amount of cooking is repeated in the evening.

Approximately 200 to 300 kilograms of firewood are used daily, totalling 6000 to 9000 kilograms (in a month. The kitchen duty involves 5 to 6 men at a time, along with 6 women responsible for vegetable preparation.

Utensil cleaning is a significant task for the men & women, involving 25 to 30 large Korfus each day. It is estimated that approx 20 to 30 truck loads of firewood per month was being used in these 100 to 130 relief camp community kitchens.)

On 25 Dec 2023, “The Chakhum-gi Meiri team” provided 6 LPG stoves and gas cylinder refill charges in the presence of Nodal Officer Imphal East, James Konsam. With the use of LPG gas for cooking, time for firewood ignitions would be saved, and not only overall cooking time but also cleaning time would be significantly reduced.

Energy efficient LPG gas will reduce the carbon footprint of the kitchen. The inmates can make breakfast for school going students which otherwise they are handling in individual capacities at additional cost and time for every individual family.

The team also visited Sawombung pre-fabricated facilities whereby an extra one LPG stove was provided in the community Kitchen 1 and 3 respectively.

How the “Flame was ignited”: The Journey of the “Meiri”.

On September 30, 2023, while visiting Oksongbung relief camp of Bishnupur district, a few volunteers felt the need for changing large quantities of firewood being used in these kitchens for cooking by LPG. Later it was followed by a group of like-minded peoples & implemented through Manipur times and Chakhum platform with a theme of “Chakhum-gi Meiri Mut-han-gumsi''-The Flame of the Home & Hearth must remain alive.

The team began with a mission for “Transforming every Chakhum of Relief Camps with LPG facilities.”

Use of LPG over firewood has its economic advantages and is more thermal efficient. This choice helps save energy and time during the cooking process, ensuring that children can attend school punctually. Additionally, it aids in avoiding the long-term side effects of smoke inhalation and saves time and effort otherwise spent on cleaning blackened pots.

With the information gathered from respective DC offices of Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal, Kakching and Bishnupur districts, 110 relief camps were initially identified without LPG facilities out of about 140 relief camps. A budget of Rs. 6 lac and 200 burners were planned to fulfil this mission.

A Whatsapp group was made on October 10, 2023 and started inviting people through individual networking to join this mission. Social media platforms of Manipurtimes and Chakhum were effectively used for a larger reach and started campaigning from October 21, 2023.

After the mission team was formed, the first relief camp visit was made on October 29, 2023 covering two relief camps of Moirang, Bishnupur district. Continuous efforts are made to get more funds for the mission and keep visiting more relief camps.

While trying to reduce the cost, an order of 120 stoves was made through a firm at Kolkata. The challenges of the bulk transportation were supported by the Assam Rifle by air-lifting from Kolkata to Imphal, under special arrangement.

With the passing days, many camps are found to be closed and merged with another and effectively. Few relief camps still prefer to use firewood for daily needs for cooking and hence LPG stoves were not provided to those specific camps.

Hence, with the coverage of a total of 100 relief camps, the mission is declared completed as on December 25, 2023.

The group is working on its next impactful mission to improve the cook houses of all the Relief camps. The volunteers and benevolent people, Unknown faces to each other, have pledged to ensure - ““Chakhum-gi Meiri Mut-han-gumsi” - The Flame of the Home & Hearth must remain alive.

This mission is supported by generous individual donors and mission partners. The social media promotions were also supported by social media partners and printing requirements, by printing partners.

Individual Contributions (111 members, 1.48 lac)

Our mission partners (15, contributions - 4.68 lac)

1. MAHEI Civil Services Institute
2. Saanica Supermart, Moirang
3. Manipuri Association of Canada - MAC
4. Babina Diagnostics
5. Siroi Financial Consultancy Pvt Ltd
6. Global Manipur Federation, GMF Australia Chapter
7. European Manipuri Association
8. Padma Diagnostic Centre
9. Karnataka Meitei Association
10. Siroi Solutions, Malaysia
11. Athobi’s Tarot Healing, New Delhi
12. Delhi Meitei Forum
13. Shri Om Sai Multispeciality Hospital, Rajasthan
13. Korea Manipuri Association
14. Association of Meiteis in the Americas
15. Hotel Siroy Lily, Guwahati

Social Media & Printing Partners

1. Social Media Express
2. Eramdam Paodam
3. Siroi Offset Printers

Please join & participate Chakhum-gi Meiri Mission

We request the generous people of our community to donate in whatever capacity one could.
Gpay: 7005617545
Contact: 8787696544

#ChakhumGiMeiri #ManipurTimes #Chakhum #ManipurRelief #ManipurFightsBack #ManipurCrisis

Why are we doing it?*

o LPG is more economical than Firewoods
o Save Energy & Time for Cooking
o Children can go to school on time
o Avoid long term side effects of smokes
o Save time & effort from cleaning blackened pots

With inputs from “Team Chakhum gi Meiri”

* Lt Col L Manongba wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an Indian Army Veteran
This article was webcasted on December 30 2023.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

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