Gram panchayats (GPs) across the district have been taking up initiatives to encourage sustainable models of development. Many GPs across the district have been encouraging the transition to solar power, and now, 80 Badagabettu panchayat has shown the way becoming the first GP building to be powered by a solar system. Although the work on the system was completed a month ago, it had not been officially inaugurated. With the installation of a solar power system, the GP building will now save Rs 1,300 a month on power.
Panchayat development officer Sumana said, “Besides the administrative bodies, every resident of the village here wants the GP to be a model establishment. When it comes to development, all villagers stand united. The village has a population of 9,309. But we have a perfect waste management system, besides adequate housing facilities and solar-powered streetlights.”
The two-storey panchayat building has three computers, eight fans, two printers, five ACs and 14 tube lights. The solar panels installed at the building generates 5kW of power, while the rest of the power is drawn from Mescom. The Mescom bill, as a result, has fallen from Rs 1,600 to a meagre Rs 300. “We also have an efficient backup battery system,” Sumana added.
Panchayat president Seetharam Shetty said, “Our electricity supply is often interrupted owing to maintenance works carried out by Mescom. With the help of donations, we managed to overcome the problem by getting a solar power system installed at the building. TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal donated Rs 10 lakh for the project. We requested TAPMI since it comes under Badagabettu limits.”
He added that the panchayat had plans to install solar-powered streetlights across the entire GP at a cost of Rs 80 lakh. “We will seek aid from donors. The panchayat will be able to save Rs 1.25 lakh annually as a result. Currently, we have 35 streetlights within GP limits that run on solar power,” Shetty said.