NAGPUR: The renewable energy initiatives made by Maharogi Sewa Samiti (MSS), Warora, were recognized with an ‘Innovative Energy Project of the Year 2016′ award for Asia Subcontinent Region. The award was presented to Dr Vikas Amte, secretary and chief functionary of MSS, and Trustee Gautam Karajgi, at Association of Energy Engineers’s (AEE) 39th World Energy Engineering Congress in Washington on September 20. AEE is a non-profit professional organization with over 18,000 members in 98 countries.
MSS, an organization formed by Baba Amte in 1949, has been striving towards maintaining balance between delicate fabric of natural ecosystem and technological advancement. The award has come to the organization for its initiatives in harnessing solar energy. “We are using solar energy for most of the requirements of 2,500 residents here. The installations put up by us include large solar dishes used for cooking, solar water heaters, solar photovoltaic for electricity and solar pumps. The use of solar energy and biogas has reduced our consumption of fossil fuels by 70%. Our solar kitchen project saves around Rs4 million a year for us,” said Sheetal Amte, chief executive officer of MSS, who was appointed Innovation Ambassador’ at the World Summit on Innovation and adviser to i4P (Innovations for Peace) in June 2016, in a first-of-its-kind initiative of the United Nations.
“Anandwan, the village were this project has been initiated, conserves over 900 billion litres of water every year in ponds. We also have one of the largest biogas plants in India, which processes five tonnes of cow dung and three tonnes of kitchen waste every day to cook food for 2,500 people in common kitchens, eliminating indoor air pollution. We have been able to reduce our requirement of LPG cylinders from 52 to 18 per day. Solar energy provides hot water in all patient dormitories and pumps in farms,” says Amte and adds that Anandwan also plants over 100,000 trees every year.
Extending its innovative outreach, MSS has also conceived an idea of converting Anandwan into a ‘Smart Village’ in continuation with India’s vision of creating smart cities, informs Amte. “Our thinking is that India must focus on retaining youth for development of villages by using smart technology equitably and keeping our values intact,” she says.
To achieve this, MSS is developing a balanced village development model with good roads, barrier free green buildings, full economic and employment integration, better health care facilities, good educational infrastructure, technological services, alternative and sustainable energy options, judicious and effective use of natural resources and secular and participatory governance. “This groundbreaking idea has the potential to transform India’s future,” feels Amte.