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Updated: September 8, 2012 15:55 IST

Sitraruvipatti village sees power for the first time

R. Sairam
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Ayyavu, a resident of Sitraruvipatti village, a settlement located near Vellimalaipatti in Kottampatti block of Madurai district, receives the first solar equpment during a function on Friday.
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Ayyavu, a resident of Sitraruvipatti village, a settlement located near Vellimalaipatti in Kottampatti block of Madurai district, receives the first solar equpment during a function on Friday.

NABARD funded initiative helps Sitraruvipatti settlement get solar units

For the 25 families living in Sitraruvipatti village, a settlement located near Vellimalaipatti in Kottampatti block of Madurai district, Friday was literally the brightest day in their life as their village was powered by electricity for the first time ever.

Thanks to an initiative supported by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), some of the villagers have obtained solar-power units

R. Shankar Narayan, NABARD Assistant General Manager, told The Hindu, “We have literally brought this village out of darkness for the first time ever and this initiative will the change the life of the villagers.”

Under the scheme, NABARD would cover 40 per cent of the project cost and a subsidised bank loan would cover another 50 per cent.

The beneficiaries would only have to contribute the remaining 10 per cent. The A. Vellalapatti Branch of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has provided the bank loans.

Initially, eight of the 25 families have been provided loans.

The village was chosen by NABARD as it was already covered under the Water Shed Scheme of the bank, he added.

S. Natarajan, Deputy General Manager, NABARD Watersheds Unit in Madurai, which covers 11 southern districts, who inaugurated the service, said that such an effort must be replicated on a large scale across the country.

The solar units have been supplied by SELCO, a for-profit social enterprise based in Bangalore, that has been instrumental role in improving living standards of poor households in rural India especially in the state of Karnataka through solar energy based interventions and low smoke cook stoves.

Its founder Harish Hande was awarded with Asia’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2011.

The solar units, which come with a mobile phone charger also, could power two CFL lights and a fan. The cost of each unit was around Rs. 23,000 with the installation work also done by SELCO.

The locals, Mr. Shankar Narayan said, were extremely overjoyed with the mobile phone chargers as till Friday they were going to the next hamlet to charge their phones.

N.M.P. Ravi Kant Rao, Area Manager of SELCO head office and V. Lokanathan, Manager of A. Vellalapatti Branch of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) were present. Indian Agriculture Development Foundation, which is organising the watershed project in the village coordinated the programme.

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