The solar lantern distribution project initiated by the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) has evoked a warm response among the people in the wake of increasing power tariff. Of the 1,000 pieces that have reached the district for distribution, more than 500 pieces have already been sold to the registered beneficiaries.

According to officers of ANERT, an order has been placed for 500 additional pieces to meet the increased demand. The first-phase distribution will come to a close on May 25 and the new registration will begin soon, they said.

With the increase in the number of people seeking to buy the lantern at subsidised rate, the ANERT has now devised a token system for trouble-free distribution to all the registered beneficiaries. They can obtain the product on production of their ration cards and the token. The project offers the quality product certified by the government at Rs.889 against the outside market price of Rs.2,000.

Now, the beneficiaries are selected in such a way as to give a proportionate representation to all grama panchayats in the district. As per official estimation, over 12,000 solar lanterns will be distributed all across the Malabar region at the subsidised rate.

The new project comes as part of ANERT’s State-wide solar thermal and solar photovoltaic projects that aim to tap the maximum from non-conventional energy sources. Alongside, the project to allot roof-top solar power plants is also in progress in the district. Beneficiaries have already been directed to select the approved implementing agencies from the list and complete the installation process in time to get government subsidy for the scheme.

According to officers of the ANERT’s regional office in Kozhikode, the supply of solar lantern is likely to be continued by the government following its huge popularity among the people and the increased demand. In the current financial year, the State government’s target is to distribute over 1 lakh solar lanterns to various households in Kerala, they add.

In addition to the subsidised distribution of solar lanterns, the ANERT is also planning to supply the solar lanterns free of cost to physically challenged persons in Kerala. In each district, 350 such families will get the benefit of the free solar lantern scheme. The product for distribution will shortly reach the district.

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