Ranchi: Around 5.4 lakh school students of underserved communities in the state have been provided with solar study lamps and another 2.6 lakh are likely to get it soon under a central scheme powered by the Union ministry of new and renewable energy.
Addressing a news meet here on Saturday, state energy secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni said, “It’s indeed nice to know that 5.4 lakh students in rural areas are no more dependent on kerosene lamps and are getting the benefit of solar energy which is cheap and eco-friendly for continuing their studies,” he said.
“The lamps have proved to be very helpful for students in forested rural areas who no longer have to use kerosene lamps,” Chetan Singh Solanki, a professor of IIT-Bombay said.
He added that around 70 lakh solar lamps will be distributed among students of underserved communities in rural areas of a few selected states at a subsidised rate.
IIT Bombay and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), which are implementing the project in Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha, have also trained 2,500 women in assembling and repairing the lamps at the local level. Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS) is also associated with the project at the state level.
“We have involved members of women self-help groups who have successfully assembled these lamps at 18 assembly-cum-distribution centres,” said JSLPS CEO Paritosh Upadhyay, adding that the move provided livelihood to 677 rural women.
Though the cost of each lamp is Rs 600, school students were being given those at a subsided rate of Rs 100 each, he informed.
According to Upadhyay, the lamps have so far been distributed in 53 blocks across eight districts and another 2.6 lakh students in 13 new blocks will get those in the next phase.
“Around 60 women who have been trained to assemble and repair the lamps will soon open S-Mart or solar shops that will create awareness about the use of solar energy besides selling solar equipment,” said Bikram Kundu, IIT Bombay’s Jharkhand state co-ordinator for the project.