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Shinnyu village receives electricity for first time in 24 years

Shinnyu village receives electricity for first time in 24 years

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It was a weekday, but on February 16, the church in Shinnyu village opened its doors for a thanksgiving service for a ‘glorious’ event- the arrival of electricity.

It was the first time in the history of the village that they could see light at night apart from their usual source of bamboo torches and firewood.

Established in 1997, Shinnyu village is in the remotest part of the district located in the Indo-Myanmar border. One has to undertake a 12-hour journey from Mon town to reach the village.

With no proper roads, no electricity and no proper internet access, Shinnyu village under Monyakshu subdivision in Mon district was a good as cut off from the rest of the world.

“Not even an electric pole in the village,” was how B John Khangnyu described the village’s electricity infrastructure.

Residents of Shinnyu village gather inside the brightly-lit church for a thanksgiving service for the arrival of electricity in the village.

John is the teacher in-charge of the Government Primary School in the village which was opened in 2010 after being recognized in 2002 by the Nagaland State government. He has been posted in the village since 2015 and the plight of the village first received attention through his social media post in 2018.

Three years later, the village’s dream of having access to electricity was made a reality with the help of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) which partnered with the Mon district administration for the project.

On February 18, the Mon district administration informed that the most remote part of the district finally received access to electricity.

Speaking to The Morung Express, the Mon DC shared that 60 households in the village have been electrified purely using solar power. This includes a church, a school, a guest house and a community hall.

Villagers volunteer during the installation of the solar panels in Shinnyu village, Mon.

The entire cost was borne through CSR funding and was executed by the GHE which is working towards providing clean energy access through solar power to remote communities.

Till date, GHE has electrified 131 villages across India, and Shinnyu village in Mon is the first village in Nagaland to be covered under their initiative.

GHE’s intervention was made possible after the social media post about the village went viral in 2019. Out of those who reached out to help, one individual helped John to get in touch with the GHE. After several surveys conducted by John himself, the district administration’s approval was needed to carry out the project. With full support from the Mon DC, who even wrote to the GHE highlighting the conditions of un-electrified villages in the district and seeking help to solve the energy access issue.

Local participation

The total cost of the project was Rs23 lakh including cost of logistics for transport of all the materials. While all the materials were brought from New Delhi, they could be transported till Tobu, which is 6 hours away from Shinnyu village. Villagers volunteered to transport the materials and also looked after the food and lodging needs of the technicians who arrived for the installation of the solar panels.

Every household in the village has been provided with 3 LED bulbs and 2 tube lights besides the solar panel and battery. The GHE will reportedly keep a regular check on the maintenance and follow up with the villagers.  Three persons from the village have also been trained as local engineers to maintain the solar panels.

Prior to this, all the major activities had to be done in daylight and the only access they had to light at night was through bamboo torches and firewood. Even their mobile handsets had to be charged with the help of small solar batteries purchased from Myanmar.

The villagers are not only grateful for the electricity in their village, but they have also taken a conscious decision to maintain a common fund for the upkeep of the machinery.

Hope for a ‘bright’ future

With global and local budgets directed towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, villages like Shinnyu in Mon have another crucial need that remains to be addressed- access to electricity.

However, in the Mon district of Nagaland, extension and expansion of habitat is somehow outpacing the rate of electricity connections and there are still villages that have not been electrified.

The Mon DC however was optimistic that the electrification of Shinnyu village is ‘just the beginning’.

Efforts are on to meet basic electricity needs of hundreds of households in other villages throughout the district, he said.

According to data provided by the Mon DC, around 10 villages in Mon are yet to be electrified. Although most of these villages are unrecognized, electricity is a vital necessity and for this reason, the district administration is reaching out for help to various means possible, he added.

The changes may not be immediate or monumental. But for people in these remote areas, the coming of electricity has brightened not only their homes, but also their hopes for the future.

illagers volunteer during the installation of the solar panels in Shinnyu village, Mon.

The entire cost was borne through CSR funding and was executed by the GHE which is working towards providing clean energy access through solar power to remote communities.

Till date, GHE has electrified 131 villages across India, and Shinnyu village in Mon is the first village in Nagaland to be covered under their initiative.

Source: morungexpress
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network