Lighting rural lives through Solar Power
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Up to a one third of India’s population, close to 400 million people, are not connected to the national grid, leaving them cut off from the development, progress and opportunity that electricity represents. Many of them live here in the crowded northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on the plains of the Ganges River. Data from the Ministry of Power shows that all villages of Uttar Pradesh, except two, are electrified. However, around 50 per cent of rural households in the state are still un-electrified. The findings of a survey done by CEEW (Council for Energy, Environment and Water) highlights that 71 per cent of unelectrified rural households in Uttar Pradesh live in habitations with grid electricity. For them the main barriers to adopting connections were the steep upfront cost, high recurring payments and unreliable supply of electricity.
In this scenario, Shramik Bharti is promoting Renewable Energy as most effective solution towards improving access to cleaner energy in poorly electrified areas and remote villages and to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change as well. The Integrated Solar Home Lighting Systems that comprises Forced Draft Biomass Cookstove, three solar light points and a mobile charger and Street Lights installed with the support of HDFC Bank in the villages of Uttar Pradesh are lightening the Lives of marginalized communities. The beneficiary selection was done in a democratic way; in open village meetings where the most marginalized households were identified and selected by the community members with a focus on household having children studying in government schools.
It has made the life much easier for the beneficiary families especially of women & children as they were the worst sufferer of indoor air pollution caused by smoke of traditional cook stoves and kerosene lamps. Malari is resident of Kamariya village of Niyamtabad Block of Chandauli. She is widow having 4 children and her mother-in-law as her dependents. Her family is very poor and they cannot afford to have LPG and electricity connections to meet their fuel and lighting needs. She used to light kerosene lamp for lighting purpose and was using \’chullah\’ for cooking food that used to give lots of hazardous smoke. During an Open meeting Malari shared “I get 1 liter kerosene oil that fulfills our need for just 10 days. My children cannot study”.
Village Community selected Malari as one of the beneficiaries for Integrated Solar Home lighting system under \’Gram Samridhi Project\’ run in their village by Shramik Bharti & HDFC Bank. “I’ve never thought that I will ever make such arrangements for my family. Shramik Bharti & HDFC Bank lightened my home and my life. Now my children are able to study properly even in evening and I am also cooking food without any pain” says Malari with glittering eyes. This is not just a story of Malari. 1050 household comprising more than 5000 people in 4 target districts of Uttar Pradesh have got benefitted by installation of clean energy solutions. There is reduction in indoor air pollution, Time saving, better light for study and household chores.
Similarly Street Lights installed in these villages have made it easy to walk on the streets safely and conveniently during night time. We have witnessed cases in project villages where children are studying under these street lights and performing their daily tasks like preparation & processing of crop for sale. Women in these villages also shared that now they feel safe while walking on village streets after dusk.