The solar gadgets on display at Ranchi GPO on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Jharkhand’s post offices are doing more than just selling stamps and cash schemes. They are also powering up the lives of thousands of people.
As many as 40 post offices under Jharkhand postal circle have started selling solar lanterns after procuring the same from various agencies from September 4. Whether it’s due to increased environment awareness or acute power shortage, the postal department’s new venture has received warm response from public.
In the state capital, the lamps, available in three models — DLight S2, DLight S20 and DLight S300 — are being sold from General Post Office (GPO) and the Doranda Head Office. On Tuesday, queues of customers were spotted at the counter at GPO near Shaheed Chowk.
“On an average, we are selling 10 to 12 solar lanterns every day. Frequent power cuts have led to a huge demand for the lamps among the residents,” said GPO senior postmaster Sanjay Kumar Gupta.
He went on to add that they had sold over 1,000 lanterns from the GPO alone. “If we take into account the figures at the remaining 39 post offices, it will stand somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500,” Gupta said.
Buoyed with the response, chief postmaster general Abhay Shekhar Prasad said they would start selling solar lanterns from 140 post offices across the state from November 1.
Initially, the three variants were priced at Rs 399, Rs 595 and Rs 1,699, respectively. But prices were hiked from October 21 in view of the huge demand. Now, DLight S2 costs Rs 450, DLight S20 is priced at Rs 645 and DLight S300 is available for Rs 1,845.
But customers are not complaining about the increased prices.
Suresh Kumar, a final-year student of Ranchi College who bought a DLight S2 from the GPO, said: “The LED lights and integrated solar panels can be recharged under the sun. We thus save electricity.”
“For students, it’s quite affordable. Our exam preparations do not get hampered due to power cuts. The solar lanterns are a much better option than candles, for which we have to shell out around Rs 150 every month,” added second-year arts student of Gossner College, Nishikant Rai.
Equally happy are the residents. “I had purchased an ordinary lantern for Rs 300 but after one month, it stopped functioning. I have come here to purchase solar lamp, which has a five-year warranty. It also has cellphone recharge facility,” said Ramayan Singh, an elderly from Dangratoli.