| A woman cooks using solar energy at Baleswar. Telegraph picture |
Baleswar (Nalbari), July 19: A char island can boast of an interrupted supply of electricity, something which few cities or towns in the mainland can do.
Setting an eco-friendly example and not waiting for the Assam State Electricity Board to oblige, the residents of Baleswar have embraced solar power to solve their woes.
Rekibul Rahman, a resident, chuckles and says, “We don’t have any power cuts, unlike in the cities and towns!”
There are no bent electric poles and sagging cables to give the landscape an ugly look. Instead, there are shining solar panels that ensure a steady supply of electricity for the inhabitants.
Rahman, a tailor, does not have to strain his eyes working by candlelight or the light of a kerosene lamp as he sews a shirt for delivery the following day. A light glows and a fan rotates slowly in his small shop.
“You will see the solar panels in front of shops and homes, the price of each depending on how much power you need,” Rahman said.
The one he has installed, for instance, generates enough power throughout the day to charge the battery, which, in turn, runs the light and the fan.
“There is enough left over to charge my mobile phone as well. The panel cost me around Rs 4,000,” he said.
There is a hint of pride in homemaker Lakshmi Begum’s voice as she shows the lights and fans in her rooms.
“These solar panels have really changed our lives. I no longer cook by the light of a kerosene lamp and my son can study without stressing his eyes. When it gets hot, we can use the fan. Just like my sister does at her home in town,” the mother of three said.
Ainul Hussain, an elderly farmer, is a contented man.
He had to shell out Rs 10,000 for the solar panel but he is happy that his son can use a computer.
“For a small farmer like me, it is a lot of money but my son is happy and so I am,” he said. “Our quality of life has improved,” he added.
Nearly 70 per cent of the 1,500-strong population of the village today have light in their lives.
At the government level, the Assam Energy Development Agency has been promoting non-conventional energy sources like solar, wind and bio-mass for industrial and domestic use, especially in remote, rural, hilly and border areas, which are connected to the conventional grid.