CHENNAI: Nestled between Auroville and Tindivanam highway, Irumbai is a non-descript village which houses 200-odd families. But Irumbai came into limelight when the state government decided to transform it into a self-sufficient solar-powered village in 2015. But little progress has been made on the ground since then owing to lack of communication between all government bodies concerned and delay in processing of paperwork. Caught in between, the villagers still wait with hopes of getting round-the-clock power supply.
The village which comes under Vanur Taluk in Villupuram district faces the brunt of erratic power supply throughout day and night. With only a handful of street lights that rarely function, power cuts after dusk plunges the entire village in darkness mainly affecting children who are not able to study in the evenings without electricity. “Power is cut at least thrice in a day. Sometimes, we don’t have supply for two hours or more. Last Friday, we did not have power from 6-8 pm. It is not possible to walk on the road or carry out any mundane activity without power, especially at night,” said Sambasivam S, a resident.
For a village to generate and run on solar power, Tangedco, the State discom, will have to ensure it receives continuous power supply. This will be done by changing the type of power connection from the current rural feeder to an urban feeder. But, as project is moving at a snail’s pace, such changes are yet to be made to benefit the village.
“So far, for the first phase of the project we have set-up super-efficient fans for 200-odd service connections. This drastically reduced the electricity bill of each home and those who did not have a fan earlier have one now. But due to inter-departmental tussle, the project has been stalled and we have been running from pillar to post to complete it,” said Y Jaswanth, a member of private consulting agency which is implementing the project on the ground level.
For setting up the 170KW solar panels on 2.5 acres of grazing land in the village, a No Objection Certificate is yet to be given by the animal husbandry department which owns this land, said an official from Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), which is spearheading the implementation of the project. “Out of the total budget of Rs 2.10 crores, we have already given `30 lakhs to Tangedco two years ago for laying new LT lines and a new transformer. We need only one acre to fit the panels. If we get the NOC, the panels will be set-up in a month’s time,” said the official.
As transfer of land between departments is not allowed according to revenue norms, TEDA has requested the animal husbandry department to grant permission to use the land on a lease basis for 20 years.When Express contacted animal husbandry department, officials said they sent a letter to Villupuram Collector two months ago asking for lease details.But Villupuram Collector denied any delay on their part.