Raipur, Nov 27: As many as 140 remote villages and hamlets in Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh which have no electricity supply even 68 years after the country’s independence will soon be illuminated with solar power. The villages, mostly located in the dense forests of Bastar division and some in Sarguja division, will soon have solar power through a project being executed by the state-run Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) under the Remote Village Electrification Programme.
CREDA has provided power in around 1,700 villages/hamlets across the state since 2003, where there is no reach of conventional source of electricity, and very soon 140 more villages in Bastar and Sarguja divisions will have the facility, CREDA Executive Engineer Rajiv Gyani said. These villages fall under the Maoist-hit Sukma, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Sarguja and Dantewada districts, he said. According to a power department official, the number of electrified villages has now increased to around 19,567, from 17,682 at the time of formation of the state in 2000. Similarly, the number of electrified hamlets has gone up to around 25,168 from 10,375 during the same period. The solar power systems were installed in 102 villages between 2000 and 2003. “A major number of villages/hamlets (not connected to the national grid) in the state are either situated in or around the close vicinity of national parks, tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries and these have been electrified with solar energy,” Gyani said. Almost all villages under Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, located around 100 kms away from here, are now electrified by CREDA under the remote village electrification programme, he informed. The agency has also involved local villagers to facilitate proper functioning and maintenance of solar set-ups installed in their respective areas. In all these places where the solar set-ups have been installed, a villager has been appointed as local operator. To fix technical problems, the agency also employs a technician who serves a cluster of 10-15 villages, while major snags are resolved by CREDA’s experts, Gyani said. The capacity of the solar set-ups of some villages has been enhanced after sensing the growing demand for power and efforts are on to increase it further in other villages, he added.