Lack of awareness hindering solar power

Assam Tribune, 14 June, 2016
GUWAHATI, June 14 – Lack of awareness among the people is standing on the way of implementation of solar energy schemes in Assam aggressively, despite the Union Government extending 70 per cent subsidy to the State, along with the other states listed as ‘Special Category’ ones. Going by the prevailing situation, it is felt that there is a need to build confidence among the people in solar energy as an alternative source of power.

This was the observation made by the participants of an advocacy meeting organised by the Rashtriya Gramin Vikash Nidhi (RGVN) and the CUTS International here today.

RGVN executive director Dr Amiya Kumar Sarma said that there is no hype in favour of solar energy as has been done in the case of the pulse polio programme launched by the government. Even the upper middle class people of the State are not aware of the benefits of solar energy and at the school level also, there remains much to be done for generating all-out awareness on solar energy and its benefits, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, head-in-charge of the Assam Energy Development Agency (AEDA), Mrinal Kumar Choudhury said that solar energy is now benefiting the people of the remote areas. Even the doctors working in the remote area hospitals are also staying in their residential quarters as a result of the efforts to make power available by harnessing solar energy in those areas.

People of many areas are seemed to be aware of the developmental initiatives of the government, but what they need is the support to facilitate their engagement in the development process. Considering the fact that power is the backbone of all development initiatives, efforts should be made to make solar power available to the people, he said.

Admitting that the Northeastern region is not getting the best solar insulation, he said that this should not be a reason for disappointment. For, he argued, Germany has lesser solar insulation compared to the NE region of India, but that has not prevented the European country from aggressively harnessing solar energy.

However, he said, for an aggressive solar energy harnessing campaign, the State needs different types of training to hone the skills of its youths.

Aneeta Dutta of the RGVN made a presentation on the RGVN initiative to illuminate the market area of Ganeshguri Chawk of Baksa district. The venture has brought a sea change in the area, she maintained. Elaborating the RGVN venture there, Babul Chandra Newar, who is working as a volunteer in the Ganeshguri Chawk area, said that 14 shops of the area’s markets have been illuminated by harnessing solar energy. Besides, two street lamps have also been installed at the market area to facilitate business activities in the area.

Some students of the area have informed that solar lamps have helped them continue their study for longer periods and this has enabled them secure good marks in the examinations, Newar said.

The function was also addressed by private entrepreneurs Bhaskar Kakoty and Chinmoy Sarma and power engineer Khanin Talukdar, among others.
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