Thursday, January 22, 2009

Solar power lights up villages in Tripura

Perched on Killa hill, Tobakla, a remote tribal hamlet in Tripura's south district now shines in the dark with a non-conventional solar power plant supplying energy under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vaidyutikaran Yojana.
A septuagenarian, Bikram Singh Jamatiya is a delighted man today. ''My village is remote which can be approached only on foot. We lived in darkness at night. Now it is different," he told a group of visiting journalists.
"Earlier, we saw electric lights only when we went to Udaipur, the district town, which is about 25 km from the village," he said.
Bikram Singh is not alone. 62 tribal families of the village under Kochigang panchayat of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) are now beneficiaries of this non-conventional energy source.
The solar photovoltaic plant with a capacity of 10 Kilo Watt has been installed there at an investment of Rs.40 lakh.
''After sunset the village wore a ghostly look as the only sources of light were kerosene lanterns, but we have bid farewell to darkness,'' said Chandrasandha Jamatiya of the village.
The Science and Technology Department, the nodal agency for electrifying the remote villages with non-conventional energy, had initially granted only two bulbs for lighting each family's house.
But with the gaon panchayat approving a fan and a tv set, the department agreed to supply energy for a charge of Rs 10 per item, said Abhabananda Jamatiya, sarpanch of Kochigang Panchayat.
Tripura Power minister, Manik Dey said, "solar energy is being given to remote villages where conventional power is yet to reach. We want to electrify all villages in the state."
He said, the Left Front government was implementing the centrally sponsored 'Kuthir Jyoti programme'.Betweeb 1993 to 2007, electricity consumers increased to 3,54,500 under the programme of which 52,852 families were from rural poor and tribals. 50 per cent rural people were benefited by the programme, he said.

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