Report by OD bureau; Bhubaneswar: To promote the use of alternative and renewable energy sources, while simultaneously improving the quality of life of local communities, Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), the CSR arm of Tata Steel, has embarked on a mission to install solar street lights in Odisha.
TSRDS has already installed more than 300 solar street lights in locations such as Kalinganagar, Bamnipal, Gopalpur and Sukinda. Plans have been firmed up to install around 700 more solar street lights in those locations and in Joda in Keonjhar district.
In Kalinganagar, where the steel major is setting up a 6 million tonnes per annum integrated steel plant, 60 solar street lights were installed recently. This has benefitted people in 37 villages located in remote and tribal areas. The majority of the families living in these villages belong to the `below the poverty line’ category. To take the process forward, 200 more solar street lights are proposed to be installed in the Kalinganagar area.
Providing a boost to the use of clean and green alternative energy in the Gopalpur region, 210 solar street lights were installed in the periphery villages spread over Chhatrapur and Rangeilunda block of Ganjam district. Similarly, TSRDS installed 14 solar street lights in an equal number of hamlets in Bamnipal area of Keonjhar district benefitting 280 households. Plans are afoot to install 25 more such lights which are likely to benefit 25 more tribal hamlets.
In Sukinda, where the Company has presence, 15 solar street lights have been installed. Another 212 such lights are proposed to be installed in the area soon. Earlier, the Company has also installed about 400 bio-gas plants that have benefitted more than 2200 people in the area. Besides, 267 solar street lights are being installed in tribal and remote areas around Joda in Keonjhar district.
Earlier, these villages remained in darkness after nightfall till sunrise the next morning due to absence of proper street lights. As such, moving after nightfall was fraught with risks of snake bites and fear of attack by wild animals.
TSRDS initiated this project to illuminate areas of common use with a high footfall. As such, youth clubs, drinking water sources, meeting places, village resource centers, common sitting platforms, temples, schools, village roads and turning points were selected for the purpose.