Life changed for the people of Barapitha, a tribal hamlet on the outskirts of the city, on Friday as it became the first village in Odisha to have solar lights in each of its 61 households.
The residents watched the India-South Africa T20 match at Dharmshala uninterrupted on their TV sets though telecast in the city itself was repeatedly disturbed due to power cuts.
TK Chand, chairman and managing director of blue chip public sector company, National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), inaugurated the solar project at the village in the presence of Joydeep Nayak, Inspector General of Police (SC and ST Protection Cell) and Khurda district collector Niranjan Sahu.
“The motive behind the initiative is to enhance the use of non-conventional energy sources in households,” said Chand.
Each household in the village has been provided with two solar home lighting systems with the facility to charge mobile phones and other devices.
Besides, the village roads and schools and the community centre have been connected with solar energy.
The LED TV in the community centre now runs on solar power.
With sixty-one houses of the tribal village near Deras on the city outskirts, the small settlement became the first in the state to use 100 per cent solar power for household purposes and street lighting.
“We have requested companies like Nalco, Ecco Solar and Jackson Solar for help.
“The lighting system is very efficient and can run for a month after a day’s charging,” said Nayak as people of the village located near Deras on the Mendhasal-Chandaka Road thanked him profusely.
“As the village is near the city and comes under the cyclone prone zone, the power is being generated through foldable solar panels which can be protected from damage during cyclones and gales”, Nayak added.
Chandaka forester Niranjan Mohapatra, who looks after the Barapitha area, said, “This is the first time the people here have known how electricity can make a difference to life.
“The project will change their attitude towards the world.”