CHITRADURGA: At a meagre cost, houses in Sadiq Nagar slum glow with environmentfriendly solar lanterns, thanks to the efforts of Pragathi Grameen Bank and SELCO.
The lanterns are provided by Integrated Energy Centre run by Hanumantha Swamy, a resident of the same locality.
Swami has 40 lanterns that he rents out to customers in the evening. He collects and charges them in the morning with the help of the power generated through four large solar panels installed on his terrace. Each lantern has a dry battery and 3 watt led lamp.
Swamy charges Rs 5 for each lamp per day. Each solar lantern has a warranty period of five years during which the service provider SELCO will replace or repair it.
Once charged, the lantern can be used for eight hours uninterruptedly.
People also use these lanterns to charge their mobile phones as each has a plug point for this purpose. The entire project cost Rs 1.
50 lakh out of which Rs 25,000 has been provided by SELCO as margin amount and Rs 25,000 as security deposit on behalf of Hanumantha Swamy to Pragathi Grameen Bank, which has financed the project by providing ` 1 lakh.
Swamy told Express: “I am earning an income of `3,000 per month in addition to what I earn through other works.I plan to repay the loan at the earliest.” He admitted that there was a demand for these lanterns but he wanted to first provide lights to huts that do not fall under the grid.
One Ratnamma, who uses that lantern daily said: “Till the introduction of solar lanterns we used kerosene lamps that caused health problems.It has helped our children to do well in the annual examinations.’’
It is said that political problems are the causes behind the looming darkness in Sadiq Nagar slum, located on the outskirts of the city.
Repeated requests of the residents have not yielded any results.
Before the introduction of the solar lanterns, most houses used kerosene lamps.
What is integrated energy centre?
Integrated Energy Centres are essentially solar powered independent centres, where services like lighting, mobile charging, charged batteries and more are provided on a daily/monthly rental basis. They are located in community spaces in urban or rural areas.
Alternatively, services in realm of education, health, finance can be introduced in these energy providing units for the underprivileged for access to various services that are difficult to obtain.