On April 28, 2018, India celebrated a significant milestone in its efforts to modernise, with PM Modi announcing that the government had electrified 100% of villages in the country. Despite this achievement, over 305 million people still remain without access to electricity and many million experience unreliable power supply every day. They stay in dark due to lack of an electricity grid, transmission issues, rising electricity costs and other issues related with limited energy access in rural India.
As a result, 26% of rural Indian households still use kerosene as a source of lighting. But then use of kerosene can cause health issues as its burning forms soot and emits toxic fumes that irritate eyes, cause respiratory illness and are potential fire related accidents waiting to happen. But the story doesn’t end here. Lack of electricity in villages can often result in numerous crimes including murders, rapes and burglaries, something which we occasionally see in Crime Patrol on small screen.
Little do we realise and wake up to the presence of solar energy which can prove to be a boon in such situations, especially in the Indian hinterland. One such effort to create awareness about solar energy among various tribal groups and backward rural classes is Hasu Doshee Foundation which along with Urja Swaraj is trying to curb this problem. While Hasu Doshee Foundation is a family run NGO with a mission is to make every Indian village sustainable keeping in mind to be as green as possible, Urja Swaraj is an organisation committed to relentless pursuit of energy efficiency and clean energy.
“We strongly believe that educating them is one of the crucial steps for them to adopt a green lifestyle. In a crowd which has never seen a steady light or used a fan during the summers, we are reaching to them through various regional and local NGOs and doing our bit by giving back to the community,” says Hasu Doshee Foundation director Viraaj Doshee.
He adds that this Diwali with the help of Daryapur-Anjangaon Surji district MLA Balwant Wankhade and Savitatai Bhatkar, Director, Milind Yuvak Mandal, Amravati, they would be educating the tribal community of Hantoda village in Amravati district of Maharashtra and help them undergo transition and adopt usage of solar lamps. “We are trying to instill various skills for the tribal community which will help them use solar energy devices in future,” informs Viraaj.
These solar lamps are being assembled by the students of Urja Swaraj through online classes featuring a certified solar expert thus educating young minds to understand how solar devices work and also involving them into working for the community. Hasu Doshee Foundation aims to organise a clean and green Diwali with the hashtag for the event being #YehDiwaliMaineSolarBattiJalayi under cn’s Project – BATTI.
The idea of running this educational process to help the tribal community struck Viraaj during a hands-on camp on solar energy back in 2017. He learnt that a lot of villages were off the grid and that tribal villages specially had not been under any support. “When we set up a solar-powered rice mill for a village so that the inhabitants can grow their own rice and mill it without any expenses, the smile and satisfaction on the faces drove me to start this project, Project Batti under our Foundation. The later goal of this event would be to gain government grants to establish fully functional street solar lights for the entire village. We hope we can achieve our target,” says Viraaj.
Under Project Batti, the basic goal is to make the inhabitants self-aware, independent and self-sufficient. “We just do not want to handover lamps and diyas without them understanding what it is. Also, it does not take long to explain a simple concept. The awareness among them as well as the governing parties around the village is very important. However, at the end even if we are able to touch and change one life, that’s a dream come true,” he puts in.