ROURKELA: Solar street lighting system will soon be introduced in 39 model gram panchayats of Sundargarh district. While district administration is implementing the project, it is being funded by District Mineral Foundation (DMF). As many as 25 of 39 panchayats are directly affected by mining operations. Work on the project has already started.
Sources said 4,460 LED-based integrated Solar Street Lighting systems will be installed in 39 model gram panchayats at a cost of `9.87 crores. DRDA Project Director (PD), Surendra Kumar Meena informed that the 39 panchayats comprise 150 villages and hamlets where electricity supply remains erratic or non-existent. Eight model gram panchayats of the mineral-rich Koida block including Dengula, Koida, Patmunda, Malda, Kalta, Swyambha and Jamdihi, four panchayats in Lahunipara blocks, five in Kutra block, three each in Rajgangpur and Kuanrmunda blocks and one model gram panchayat in Gurundia block, all affected by mining operations, would get the facilities. Additionally, the backward Sol and Pankadihi model gram panchayats in Gurundia block, adopted model gram panchayats of Giringkela by Rajya Sabha member Dilip Tirkey in Lefripara block and 11 best performing model gram panchayats in Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme have also been included for solar street lighting projects of DMF.
The projects would be completed by January-end next year and monitoring committees would be formed at district to gram panchayat level comprising village/gram panchayat heads, police and administrative officers for sustainability of the projects.
Sundargarh Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia said solar street light systems are environment friendly with guaranteed life span. Those also give freedom from recurring costs of energy bills and maintenance, reduce stress on demand for conventional energy and are most suited to rural pockets facing long spells of power disruption in night. The DRDA is working on installation of 500 units of LED-based Integrated Solar Street Lighting systems at 11 villages/hamlets of Darlipali and Raidihi gram panchayats in Lefripara block with CSR contribution of `1.22 crore of NTPC.
About 300 of 480 solar street light systems have been installed at 15 gram panchayats of Kuanrmunda block with funding from 14th Central Finance Commission.