TERI to light up Pak villages, boost bilateral relations

The Energy and Resources Institute has recently set up two micro-grids in a village in Sahiwal in Pakistan. It will also provide additional solar water heaters and two desktop computers at Gah village in Chakwal district in Pakistan as part of its ‘Lighting a Million Lives’ campaign.

In an effort to bring the two nations closer, TERI in collaboration with Pakistan-based organisations LEAD, Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) and Buksh Foundation, will organise a series of events to mark the launch of the campaign in Pakistan on October 12 and 13.

Gah village, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s birthplace, was declared a model village by Pakistan’s Punjab provincial government in 2004, after Singh became the prime minister. The government had also renamed the local boys’ school as Manmohan Singh Government Boys’ Primary School.

TERI started work in the village in 2006 by providing solar lighting systems and a solar water heater. In Phase-II of the campaign, TERI will furbish the technology and provide additional items as well.

“We are essentially providing technical support to boost energy security in Gah. We have connected several houses through smart grids and have set up 51 solar-based domestic lighting systems in the village since 2006. TERI has also installed 16 solar streetlights and two additional solar water heaters in Gah,” said Ibrahim Hafiz Rehman, director, social transformation division, TERI.

He said though the cost of the projects has been roughly Rs 10 lakh, the goodwill and warmth from Pakistan residents and the government are no match for the expenses.
TERI director general Dr Pachauri said Pakistan is facing a massive power crisis. “A large section of the population there is suffering because of power crisis. We have not taken the government’s support for this campaign. NGOs and civil groups can easily get this work done with their own efforts,” he said.

Pachauri may meet the Pakistani President on October 12 to deliberate on the crisis issue.

Also, a benefit concert is being held on October 13 in Lahore, where Indian rock band Euphoria and Pakistani band Junoon will perform.

The campaign has also provided electricity in over 3.8 lakh households in rural areas in India. TERI plans to advance this campaign to Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, where it is already working on some energy projects.

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