Briquette, a hard block made from coal dust, is gradually getting popularity among the city dwellers as an alternative fuel, for its relatively lower price, for household as well as commercial cooking.
More and more fixed and low income groups are taking to the alternative fuel due to escalating prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene as well as firewood side by side with different other essential commodities.
Some, among the affluent families, are also using it locally called as Charcol for the cost advantage.
In BSCIC industrial estate, three factories are busy producing briquette using coal dust, coal wastes out of kilns and arrowroot as raw materials. Brickfields at different areas including Rajshahi and Bogra are selling a sack of 60-kg coal dusts for Taka 80.
Rehana Briquette Factory owner Anisur Rahman Master told BSS that three kilograms of arrowroots is mixed with 400 kilograms of coal dust to get the low cost fuel.
He said Taka 40,000 to Taka 50,000 is required for setting up a briquette manufacturing factory in the preliminary stage.
The demand for the newfound alternative fuel was increasing at different restaurants and tea stalls due to its relatively low price, he said.
Retail shops were established at different places in the city based on the low cost fuel. Not only that, he said, the quality of fire derived was also better, as it give no black spot to utensils side by side with adjudging it as an environment- friendly.
But during rainy season, the briquette factories go out of production as the brick fields remain closed snapping coal dust supply.
Housewife Rani Sarker of Ghoramara area said monthly spending on fuel for cooking for her family of six members dropped to Taka 300 from Taka 1500 earlier taken by LPG.
Students’ hostels, different religious institutions and orphanages are using it as fuel instead of firewood and sawmill dust.
“Our fuel cost has been reduced to half together with time,” said Mawlana Abdus Samad, Principal of Malopara Shahi Madrasa.
Local Brick Kiln Owners’ Association general secretary Nazrul Islam suggested establishing more briquettes manufacturing factories so that more families could use it to save expenditure on fuel and reduce pressure on LPG, firewood and kerosene.