Coimbatore: The forest department has installed an aero-generator i.e., wind mill at Veerakkal forest tribal settlement in Nellithorai Reserve Forest (Karamadai range), Coimbatore division, to ensure energy self-reliance. The hamlet is located on the way to Pilloor from Mulli in Nellithurai panchayat of Mettupalayam taluk. The village has 14 families with 42 persons.
Hitherto the hamlet had no power and a borewell that was sunk was of only minimal help because of power problems. Earlier, the village had solar power panels but the supply was erratic. Officials noticed this while inspecting the village for regular forestry works. Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, R. Kannan and District Forest Officer I. Anwardeen initiated measures to provide renewable energy to the hilly region area tribal hamlet.
During 2008-09 Rs. 1.50 lakh was given to the hamlet under the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve (NBR) scheme for buffer zone activities. A wind mill was recently installed at a cost of Rs. 1.56 lakh and it generated one kw hybrid system power. The solar power panels when set right had been reactivated that provided 500 watts additional power supply. The wind mill now takes care of the power supply to the borewell sunk to a depth of 540 feet and with one horse power submersible motor. The pumpset takes care of the irrigation needs of 16.8 hectares. Now, the aero generator and the solar power panels take care of the power supply needs for providing drinking water supply for an hour a day and two hours water supply a day for irrigation purpose. Besides, the power is also extended to a study room and a community hall to watch television. Based on the experience gained, the forest officials are now planning to extend the same to other tribal hamlets in a phased manner. Mr. Anwardeen has written to the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency seeking a subsidy of 75 per cent of the cost so that the scheme could be carried forward to other hamlets.