MAC: Mines and Communities

Solar power boon for villagers

Published by MAC on 2007-04-06

Solar power boon for villagers

The Statesman, Calcutta

6th April 2007

BOLPUR: Switching on electric lamps or watching television was some sort of a dream for them until a few days ago, but today the dream has come true, illuminating their lives.

The villages like Mohuli and Geatgram, situated on the bank of the river Ajoy along the border of Birbhum are regarded as the most underdeveloped villages in the district.

The floods in 1995 wreaked havoc in the area, wiping out these two villages completely. Thereafter, it had been a long and bleak battle for the villagers to earn their livelihoods.

At a time when the villagers cannot afford electricity, they have got it because of a novel project taken up by Santiniketan Sriniketan Development Authority.

With the help of the West-Bengal Renewal Energy Development Agency, the SSDA arranged for solar electricity in these villages. The project, funded by the ministry of renewable energy, the state government and the SSDA, has provided about 127 families with a solar panels connected with two lamp sets and a plug point.

The chief executive officer of SSDA, Mr Ashoke Das, said: "The development authority has been working in these villages for the last two years. We found out that the villagers were so poor that they could not bear the cost of electricity.

"So we were in search of an alternative way. The WBREDA helped us to implement this project. And now we are looking forward to carry on this project smoothly in these villages." "Villagers have been trained in maintenance work by the experts of the the WBREDA and a distilled water plant has also been set up near Dhannosara village so that villagers would not have to face any difficulty in using the distilled water for the maintenance process", said Mr Das.

"Under this project, the villagers will have to pay Rs 20 per month for five years to the agency and that agency would be responsible to run the project smoothly for around 20 years", said Mr Das.

The project was inaugurated by the Lok Sobha speaker and MP of Bolpur, Mr Somnath Chatterjee and Mr Santi Pado Gon Chowdhury, director of the WBREDA in presence of other dignitaries.

In his address Mr Chatterjee also assured the villagers that in the near future the SSDA would help the villagers by providing solar lights in the streets free of cost.

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