Home Minister to launch slew of solar projects on its premises tomorrow
The open jail at Nettukalthery will take a huge stride forward in energy conservation and utilisation of non-conventional energy on Tuesday with the launch of a number of projects on its premises.
Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan will inaugurate the projects.
Alexander Jacob, Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services, said the most important project was the solar one, comprising solar plants of 180 kW capacity, readied by ANERT at a cost of Rs.6.35 crore.
A solar project at Thevancode State Institute of Correctional Administration (SICA), Poojappura, too would be launched on Tuesday. ANERT had installed plants of 146 kW capacity there at a cost of Rs.4.51 crore.
These, Mr. Jacob said, were part of the entire Prisons Department moving towards use of solar energy, a first for any department in the country.
The solar power scheme for the department had been initiated by former Additional Director General of Prisons K.P. Somarajan in 2008, for which the department had received Rs.25.26 crore.
Apart from the huge savings in power bills — which ran into Rs.1,27,57,524 last year — solarisation would address security concerns during unscheduled power supply disruptions, Mr. Jacob said.
Total solarisation would enable a 24-hour supply, along with a 12-hour backup.
Another use was for solar steam cooking. Most jails, till two years ago, depended on firewood. Twenty-one jails shifted to LPG cooking last year. The rest would shift to LPG this year, while the open jail at Nettukalthery would start solar steam cooking. Solar energy would be used for pumping water from a check-dam as well in the open jail.
The Home Minister would also inaugurate a hollow brick manufacturing unit, an interlocking brick making unit, and a conventional brick production unit as well, all of which would be run by the jail’s inmates, Mr. Jacob added.