Solar energy lights up migrant labourers' lives

Solar energy lights up migrant labourers' lives

Several families in rural, as well as urban areas, live in darkness even after 68 years of independence.

Migrant labourers, who come to Mangaluru city with their families in search of employment, live in sheds set up on private land and are deprived of basic facilities.

To help such families living at Bangra Kuloor in the city, Selco Solar Light Private Limited, a social enterprise whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of underserved households and livelihoods through sustainable energy solutions and services, in association with Selco Foundation, has installed three solar panels, each of 60 watt capacity, to supply electricity at night.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, the company’s consultant N A Lakshminarayana Rao said electricity is supplied through integrated energy model wherein one shed has been identified for control circuit in which all the households charge their lights throughout the day and take it back to their houses to light at night. The estimated cost of the panels, lights and charger points given to these sheds is about Rs 62,600. Out of 32 sheds, 24 sheds have made use of the solar lighting facility. Selco collects Rs 200 per month from these labourers, he added.

The labourers reside on tents, rain-proofed with black and green tarpaulin sheets. A 1.7 watt capacity LED light has been given to each shed. Hanumavva and Lakshmi from Badami said they have been residing here for the last five years.

“We did not have electricity all these years. Selco has installed solar panels and we are reaping the fruits of alternative sources of energy at night. My three children, who are pursing their studies at Mannagudda school, can study for longer hours under a solar lamp,” Hanumavva added.

She said, “We, women, wake up early in the morning as we have to leave for fishing harbour for work. The solar light help us to complete our household chores without any problem.”

Another beneficiary Neelavva, also hails from Badami, said, “I have been residing here for the last 10 years. Till three months ago, we were living in darkness and were dependent on kerosene for our power needs. Even purchase of kerosene is a costly affair.”

Geetha, another resident, said the solar lights have allowed them to extend the day even after sunset. “Children can study and even household chores can also be completed before sunrise,” she added.

Selcom Solar Light Private Limited Senior Manager Krishnaraj said, “Eight more families have demanded solar lights. We will increase the number of panels to supply power. The solar light lasts for six to seven hours.”

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