Remote villages to be electrified on local renewable sources

Monday, August 29, 2005

NEW DELHI: Remote villages of Jarha-Chetwa and Jemara in Uttar Pradesh no longer use the local-made bottle-dibri or kerosene lamps for lighting their homes after sunset — instead they now have switched on to electric bulbs.

Located beyond the reach of normal electric grid supply, Jarha-Chetwa in the mountainous region of Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh has been provided with solar-powered electricity in June this year, involving an investment of Rs 45 lakh.

And, otherwise near-inaccessible Jemara village dotted amid a lush green valley surrounded by hills with thick plantation in Korba region of Chhattisgarh, now gets electricity from a biomass gassifier plant, installed at a cost of Rs 14 lakh and fed on locally available wood.

The electrification of these remote villages has been taken up by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) as part of the Prime Minister’s REST mission (Rural Electricity Supply Technology) by the Ministry of Power for electricifation of all villages and households by 2012 relying on locally available renewable energy resources and decentralised technologies.

Being a member of this mission, NTPC has taken up for Distributed Generation (DG) projects based on renewable energy resources to demonstrate the viability and self sustainability operations of these projects for generating employment opportunity for local villagers and additional source for augmentation of income for the poor villagers.

Besides the projects of these two villages, the feasibility report for about 12 other projects is ready and work on them will be completed by December 2006.

Pre-feasibility reports for other 26 projects are under preparation.

NTPC has implemented a novel concept in these villages forming ’Village Energy Committee’ (VEC), a duly-registered cooperative society of the residents for running these projects. The VECs take all the major decisions like fixing tariff, collection of revenues, payment to the operators, trained from within the villages, and levying of penalties on defaulters.

To make the projects self-sustainable with the involvement and commitment of local villagers, a totally different strategy has been effected encourging VECs operate and maintain the plants by trained villagers.

More than 1,000 people living in five separate hamlets of Jarha-Chetwa are benefitted from this DG project.

The plant capacity of Jarha-Chetwa is 11.9 Kw having 170 Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) modules of 70 watts each and one 10 Kva power conditioning unit.

Single phase 230 V AC power is supplied to 200 houses for domestic lighting through 5.5 kms distribution network daily for 5 hours after sunset on payment of per connection basis and 35 street lights are fitted free of cost for the benefit of the community as a whole by the NTPC.

In addition to domestic lighting, power is also used for commercial purposes such as battery charging at economical rates ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 15 during the day.

Depending upon the requirement and large amount of produce of Arhar Dal in the area, putting up a Dal mill will be a preferable choice for the economic development of the villagers.

At present, there is no dal mill in the radius of 120 kms.

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