People's power

Development

People's power

Empowered:  Villagers from Madikeri have found their own solutions, thanks to the water resources (right) in the region.

Chembu, a village in Madikeri taluk is a tiny one, without any basic amenities. People from the village have to walk seven kilometres to get to a bus-stop, if they have to travel to places such as Mangalore, Madikeri, Sullya, Subrahmanya etc.

Those who can afford it, hire private jeeps, but the others have no option but to walk up. Residents of Chembu have had to rely on kerosene lamps for light for many years.
However, in recent times, even kerosene has been difficult to get. The state government gives three litres of kerosene per family per month. Making do with such a small quantity was a challenge for most households. The only option for them was to call it a day early. So most households went to sleep by eight pm. It is not as if the villagers didn’t make any attempts to seek power supply from the government. Innumerable memoranda submitted in the past have gone in vain.

Then, the residents decided that instead of waiting for the government to do something, they had to do things on their own. So, they decided that they would make use of the technology that would harness electricity from the many cascades that their region had. At least one to five kilowatts of power that was thus generated was used in homes. A Shimoga-based firm called Nisarga Environment Technology has installed small hydel power units by making use of a subsidy given by the Central government for such projects. Setting up of such a project requires constantly flowing water. Another prerequisite is that a cascade or water source should be in the land of the beneficiary.
This facility costs Rs 1.10 lakh. Nearly 75 per cent of this money has been borne by the Central government under their scheme. The remaining has been borne by the beneficiaries.

The rain water that runs down the hills is brought to the courtyards of homes by way of pipes. This water turns the turbines and generates electricity. This is a fully environment-friendly unit.

This scheme has come as a boon to villagers in the region. There is no fear of power cuts. There is no need to pay electricity bills. The flip side, though, is that when the streams and cascades run dry in the summer months, there is no electricity. But, the villagers are willing to  stay without power for a couple of months rather than go without electricity for the whole year.

There are happy faces in Chembu. This project has made life easier for them, just a little more.

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