BENGALURU: In this festive season, when a myriad number of lights are seen in the city, a solar lamp devised specially for street vendors stands apart. In an initiative started on Deepavali three years back, 30-year-old Aakarsh Shamnur, an urban professional, along with other like-minded people have been providing solar lamps for the daily use of street vendors.
Aakarsh is an architect who studied B Arch from RV Engineering college and did his masters in Urban Management and development from the Netherlands. Through the year he designs buildings and engages himself in other architect-related work. However, during Deepawali, he supplies solar lamps to street vendors.
“Every time I saw street vendors working in the dark, I wanted to do something for them, that is when this idea came up. They contribute a lot to the urban economy and help us get fresh items at our doorstep,” he said.
The solar lamp can run for ten hours and these lamps were first distributed in Jayanagar. With the help of crowdfunding, Aakarsh started making more lamps and helped vendors work in the light.
At present, street vendors use petromax or kerosene lamps, which cost them more. Solar-charged lights can help save cost and is a healthy alternative. “So far we have distributed around 250 lamps in Karnataka. We are also distributing such lamps in Chennai and Kolkata this year. All the lamps manufactured in Bengaluru,’’ he said.
Earlier, we used to give one lamp which would cost Rs 1,500, now we are giving two such lamps per vendor, which cost Rs 3,500.
This Deepavali, he insists people come forward and provide financial aid to this endeavour, “I am allergic to crackers and these days many prefer cracker-free Deepavali. So instead of buying crackers if they give us money, it can be used to make solar lamp and help vendors,’’ he added.