Vikasa signs MoU with TERI to promote solar energy
New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is working with Vikasa, an NGO identified by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for promoting projects aimed at tribal development.
TERI is working for realisation of its mandate to light a billion lives by promoting solar energy lighting in villages that do not have access to thermal power, especially in the hilly terrains in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam district.
TERI is working with NGOs to produce solar power and install solar lamps in habitations and streetlights in tribal hamlets. Women and children have a hard time in tribal hamlets that do not have electricity connections as the entire hamlet plunges into darkness after 5 p.m.
Women cannot attend to any domestic work and children cannot study as they depend on kerosene lamps. Kerosene, being a scarcely available commodity, has failed to cater to their needs. To dispel darkness out of their lives, the solar power lighting project is being implemented with the financial participation of hamlet residents and NGOs.
TERI is establishing common recharge stations with solar panels and recharging equipment. Technical training is provided to entrepreneurs as part of the programme. The tribal community and the NGO will jointly have to bear 50 per cent of the project cost for installation of the unit. The trained entrepreneur will look after the maintenance and charging of lanterns in the village. He will have to be paid a service charge of Rs.2 per lantern per day.
Vikasa has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with TERI and is playing the role of a facilitator between TERI and Village Development Committees (VDC) under the Tribal Development Fund – Maa Thota programme of the NABARD.
As part of the MoU, 170 Maa Thota families have availed themselves of the scheme and benefited by the solar power produced by TERI. Solar LED lights have been supplied to the beneficiaries. Charging of lights is done on a daily basis by the entrepreneur. For every 10 villages, one person is trained on the technical aspects to take care of critical technical inputs.
VDC team leader Prasad told The Hindu that several tribal families were approaching the NGO after seeing the benefit being enjoyed by the tribal hamlets. They were urging NABARD and Vikasa to extend the solar project to their villages. Tribal men and women were being trained to regularly use the lamps and get their lamps charged.
The families were being asked by the entrepreneurs to hand over solar lamps to them if they happen to go out of their villages for three to four days.
NABARD Deputy General Manager C. Udayabhaskar said in view of the growing demand among the tribal community for solar lamps, six more ‘Maa Thota' villages were being covered under the solar lighting project.
At present, discussions are on with TERI officials to extend the benefit to villages that are demanding solar energy.