The World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWFI), under its ‘Sahasra Jyoti’ project, had been working extensively with local communities in the Sunderbans mangrove forest area of West Bengal, to provide them cost-effective energy solutions, while reducing the pressure on the surrounding environment, a WWFI official said. As part of this, a solar project at Satjelia Island in the area, has already covered five hamlets, he said.
“We have installed five micro grids in three phases, with an installed capacity of 56.18 kW,” senior coordinator-energy access and communities, climate change and energy programme, Subhro Sen said. The number of establishments covered under the project in Gosaba block included 25 shops, eight institutions and 512 houses, he said, adding that over 2,100 individuals have benefitted in the area. “Sixty per cent of the households that got electricity, belonged to BPL families. We have also installed 50 street lights, as part of the initiative,” he said.
Four village energy committees, with local people as members, have been formed in the area to monitor the project’s implementation and eight persons have been trained to function as system operators, he added. The project has improved the living conditions of people in the rural areas, a senior official at the Kolkata chapter of the organisation said. “The village folks can now keep their shops open till late in the evening and children can study after sunset,” the official added.