The Army has distributed 17,000 solar lights among the residents of un-electrified and inaccessible hamlets in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. The initiative under ‘Roshni’ (light) project, the Army said, was launched after it was felt that electricity was the most critical requirement in the far-flung areas during interactions with the locals including the floating population of nomadic Gujjars and Bakherwal communities.
“The initial aim was to lit up 5,000 homes and ‘dhoks’ (mud-houses),” it said. ”After approaching several NGOs and municipal corporations, a Mumbai-based NGO, ‘Eco Solutions’, headed by Yatendra Aggarwal agreed to be a part of the project in 2016, as their primary aim was to reach out to remote areas in the country and provide lights through solar-based LED lighting systems,” Brigadier Rohit Nautiyal of the Rashtriya Rifles told PTI on Sunday.
He said the execution of the project has genuinely uplifted the standard of living of the rural population in high-altitude remote areas and has also led to better relation between the Army and the local population.
”The distribution of solar lights has made a dramatic difference in the lives of many, as it not only provides 6-8 hours of free light, with simple operating and re-charging procedures but has also given them a sense of security during hours of darkness in remote areas and enabling children to pursue their studies in hassle free manner,” the officer said.
According to official figures, over 100 villages are still un-electrified in the state and efforts are on to achieve 100 per cent electrification under various centrally sponsored schemes. The solar lights were distributed among people of different far-off villages including Tanta, Bagdan, Wani Pura, Draman , Kuthal, Ganoori, Yarivan, Magray Mohalla, Bain-Goth, Bani-Batoli, Dooru, Kota-Top, Shankhoja beside several meadows including Qatari, Kainthi Dhar, Dhadkaie, Lalu Pani, Jaie, Lal Draman and Padri Dhar.
“This is the best gift I had ever got in my life. The solar lights definitely brought a lot of change in our household,” Sarmeena Bano, a Class 12 student of village Bagran Tanta said. She said the effort of the Army provided the students of the un-electrified villages an opportunity to experience reading under lights instead of “irritating smoke” of kerosene lamp.