GUWAHATI, June 15 – Around 20 lakh households in the north-eastern States use kerosene for lighting as per the statistics released by the National Sample Survey Organisation. Further, remote villages which are getting electrified under the National Rural Electrification Programme continue to be energy deficient due to non-/limited supply of electricity to such remote areas. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has been spearheading a major national level initiative called ‘Lighting a Billion Lives’ to provide clean lighting solutions to energy impoverished habitations and help improve the standard of living of the bottom of pyramid population. Towards this end, the initiative has covered around 1,500 villages in the country including around 100 villages in the north-eastern States under pro-poor public-private partnership model with support from various corporate entities.
As a part of the initiative, solar charging stations have been implemented in Sonitpur and Kamrup districts with support from the Rural Electrification Corporate Ltd (REC). A programme was organised by TERI at Gohpur on June 8 to inaugurate the 13 Solar Charging Stations (SCSs), supported by REC, and hand them to the local partner organisation, Chaiduar Rural Development Centre (CRDC) for operation and management of the SCSs. CRDC will manage the SCSs involving local youths as entrepreneurs to operate and provide solar lanterns on rental basis to the community.
Debajit Palit, associate director, TERI who heads the Lighting a Billion Lives programme, said that TERI has initiated the programme in 2008 to provide clean lighting services, using the fee for service model, and expects to cover the unelectrified or poorly electrified areas in the country during the next five years.
He also said that the programme is getting active support from the corporate sector such as REC as well as from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Speaking on the occasion, Ajay Gupta, Deputy General Manager, REC, shared the corporate social responsibility vision of REC and stressed on the sustainability of the solar charging stations. The SDO (Civil) of Gohpur, who was also present on the occasion, thanked TERI and REC for initiating the programme in Gohpur, a press release stated.