The defunct solar-powered clock at the museum’s entrance in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Jharkhand’s first sunny showpiece at Sido-Kanhu Park at Kanke in the capital has gone into eclipse after a lightning jolt some two months ago.
The Rs 3.5-crore sun museum in Kanke, touted as eastern India’s first energy park, was opened in November 2012 at the 10-acre Kanke green lung to demonstrate to the masses how solar power worked.
In September, lightning burnt the circuits and sockets of the main solar panel.
Now, with no solar energy, all products inside the museum, from model pressure cookers to tractors that run on sun power, are sitting idle.
Visitors to the park, who come especially for the sun museum, are left disappointed.
In November 2012, the multi-crore facility with a rooftop battery bank, a 225sqm exhibition hall with touch-screen energy encyclopaedias, a smokeless chullah, pressure cooker, tractor and hand pump among others, powered by solar energy, was launched with much fanfare by then chief minister Arjun Munda.
The Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA), which runs the museum, doesn’t seem too bothered that the showcase museum is defunct for months.
Projects officer of JREDA Bimlendu Kumar Rai, in charge of the prestigious museum, initially claimed everything was “fine”. When The Telegraph prodded him, he admitted to a “technical glitch” caused by lightning.
“Solar panels and main sockets were burnt due to lightening. The delay (in repairs) is because procurement of materials is held up. We will have to get them from Delhi,” he said.
On when the repairs would be done, he added: “Soon, after I return from leave next week.”
This lack of urgency in repair or upkeep of anything worthwhile in the capital has become a defining feature of successive state governments.
The Telegraph, which visited the park around noon on November 29, found museum gates locked, the sun-powered toy train standing still and the display board outside the facility blank.
“Nahin chalta. Baad mein aaiyega. (Not working, come later),” said one of three guards outside the museum. “Barish ke time aandhi toofan aur vajrpat ke chalte kharab hogaya. (Lightning during the recent monsoon made it defunct),” said another.
A casual staff of Jharkhand State Forest Development Corporation (JSFDC), which maintains Sido-Kanhu Park, said the solar train developed a glitch last week. The toy train debuted in 2012 summer.
The worker added six CCTV cameras were out of order but an equal number of security guards were deputed by the forest development corporation. The Telegraph, however, found no trace of even defunct CCTV cameras on the park premises.