Kendrapara: Electricity was just a dream for Charigharia village located inside the Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) in Gupti gram panchayat under Rajnagar block.
The village had not seen any development as it is located inside the national park and as the forest department used to object to most projects.
But now thanks to the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA), the 106 households of Charigharia are getting solar electricity.
“There is no road to the village and power distribution lines have not come here. Water is also scarce. Here people lead a simple life of farming, cattle rearing and fishing,” said Babuli Moharana, a villager of Charigharia.
But finally the government provided solar energy to the families of Charigharia through OREDA under the Deen Dayal Upadhaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) with the Centre’s help.
OREDA would maintain each household’s solar cells for five years, said Panchanan Tripathy, assistant director of OREDA.
The agency has installed three LED bulbs (each 5 watts), a tube light (18 watts), a solar fan (30 watts) and a mobile phone charger in all homes. Each house has a 200 watts solar module and battery which costs nearly Rs 65,000, Tripathy said.
Human activity is overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The result is frequent storms, droughts and rise in sea levels. As the energy sector produces around two-thirds of global greenhouse emissions, renewable energy is vital to reduce global warming.
“Solar energy transformed Charigharia. Villagers now watch television at night. Children study well past sundown. Earlier, it was difficult to know what was happening outside,” said Parvati Bahadur, a woman of the village.
“We were living in darkness. After sunset, students never showed any interest in studying with kerosene lamps. But now students are studying at night using solar power,” said Gopinath Mandal, a student.
Now there is life even after sunset, said Jyotsna Rana, adding “We can now dump kerosene lamps which are a major health hazard. Moreover, we feel safe at night as earlier animals from the national park used to enter our village.”
OREDA has also provided solar power to 28 households in Dolaka village and eight households at Nandagala in Cuttack district, said Tripathy.