Note from Sunderbans to fight climate change

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 07, 2009 05:28 hrs

: In the face of mounting pressure on world bodies to cut their carbon emissions, residents in the Sunderbans delta of West Bengal are using electricity generated from solar power, thereby contributing their bit towards the carbon emission cut.

The lives of the people living in Sunderbans has changed ever since a solar power plant was first set up by the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WEBREDA) in Sagar Island.

Now a number of solar photovoltaic power plants have come up in various islands in the Sunderbans.

Residents of Sunderbans, for whom even conventional electricity once remained a pipe dream, now use the electricity from solar power.

Dipak Kumar Si, a resident of Baliara village in Mousuni island, whose family was dependent on kerosene lamps earlier, felt that life for them has certainly changed after the introduction of solar power in his village.

"Earlier we used to use kerosene lamps and spent between rupees 150-200 per month for one litre of kerosene. But after getting solar electricity, we pay rupees 500 for a three points connection and pay rupees 75 every month. So we have benefited a lot," Kumar said.

"We get power for five to six hours and we can also watch television now, which was not possible earlier. We have certainly benefited a lot," he added.

Villages also feel that using electricity from solar power is beneficial since it is never-ending.

They also realized the importance of renewable energies like solar power, wind, low and high tide of the river.

"The power which is generated from the minerals, will finish someday. We will not get coal, diesel, petrol, etc. But in the case of renewable energy like solar power, wind, low and high tide will remain forever and the power generated from these has great importance," said Sarat Hadra Si a villager.

In Baliara alone, around 1,500 people out of 4,000 use the solar electricity.

Speaking to ANI, WEBREDA Director S.P Gon Chaudhury said since it was not possible for them to provide conventional electricity to around 4.4 million people of the delta, a large part of which is covered by saline water and is accessible only through a system of waterways, they introduced solar power, which is not only cheap but emission free too.

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He also said that there are about 18 to 20 solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Sunderbans at present, which are providing electricity to more than 100,000 people.

"We took some proposals; first we took a proposal in Sagar Island. We installed a project in Sagar Island and then we installed some projects in other island also. Now there are about 18 to 20 projects, solar PV plants, which are working in Sunderbans and providing electricity to more than one lakh people," Chaudhary said.

The WEBREDA plans to provide 25 megawatts electricity to villages in Sunderbans.

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Recently, the Union Cabinet had approved its first solar power plant, pledging to boost output from near zero to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 as part of its plan to fight global warming.

In an interaction with ANI Prime Minster's special envoy on Climate Chanfe Shyam Saran said : "A landmark decision has been taken by the cabinet just a couples of week ago to put in place a regulatory framework as well as an incentive framework in order to bring about a major expansion in the capacity of solar energy,"

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