Sewa bharati: Green power lights tribal homes in Kandhamal village

Source: Dailypioneer
January 21, 2011   6:59:03 PM

PNS | Phulbani

The intake valve was opened and water rushed into the long pipe leading downhill to a small concrete-roofed power house. The generator started humming; the gathered people of endangered Kutia tribe took a breath and eureka! The quiet lights of Desughati came on.

After a few months of training, volunteer coordination, fundraising, community organising and hard work, the first community-operated micro-hydro system is now up and running in Kandhamal district. Leading NGO Seva Bharati, with funding support from EED Germany and with labour support from local people, has made it a success story, said Special Administrator of Kandhamal Affairs Madhu Sudan Padhi.

Padhi covered the entire hilly slopes to reach the far-flung Kutia village, 160 km away from the district headquarters town of Phulbani. While Belghar, the headquarters of the Kutia Kandha Development Agency (KKDA), remains in dark due to non-availability of electricity, a village, 16 km from the place in the hilltop, now has electricity, said Suresh Bhai of Seva Bharati. The 13-KW generator, which derives power from a small diversion weir, is imported from Sri Lanka to provide the community with clean, quiet and renewable electricity.

The project is the result of a dynamic partnership between Seva Bharati and the villagers of Desughati in Jhirpani Panchayat of Tumudibandh block of Kandhamal. After the completion of micro-hydro project at a cost of Rs 22 lakh, it was formally commissioned on January 30. A formal commissioning ceremony was held later under the chairmanship of Collector Kandhamal Krishan Kumar.

Generating renewable electricity from a river benefits the 300 residents of Desughati in many ways, said Seva Bharati secretary Pramod Pattnaik. Now, 26 houses of the village are lighted with CFL bulbs and street light is covering the area, said he.

Every family is now paying only Rs 20 per month for electricity. Technically, the system is robust and in good working order, said Technology Support Provider Ram Subramanian. While regular maintenance is required, the system should last for many years to come, said he.

The first year of operation will be a critical test for the community who must now generate and manage an operational fund to cover the costs of maintenance and repair. The goal of volunteers’ training was to continue the transfer of skills to these villagers so that they would be able to manage the show.

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