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SOLAR POWERED WATER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM (2008) & SOLAR POWERED ELECTRIFICATIONS (2011) IN RUIPATHAR, MAHARASHTRA

 

Geographical Location: Ruipathar, a small isolated tribal village of about 250 people in the remote jungles of Melghat, is a hilly terrain with dry forest areas, famous for its tiger-reserve and teak wood, in the Satpura mountain range of the Amravati District in Maharashtra, India.

 

The Issue: The available source of natural water is about a kilometre away from the village of Ruipathar. The women trekkedon an incline to fetch water for everyday household and personal use. Troubled by this back-breaking labour the villagers went through to obtain water, a Pune-based NGO named Maitri approached Sunlit Future to find a solution where water could be brought to the village.

 

The Project: Sunlit Future installed a solar-powered submersible pump, charged by 18 solar panels, in the bore well which was situated in the forest 1km outside Ruipathar. A pipeline pumps the water from the bore well to a water tank (which was also built) in the village. Ever since, everyone in the village has access to clean water right at their doorstep.

 

Social Impact: The impact of this project improves health, saves time and the drudgery of carrying heavy loads of water for their daily needs. This water project became a boon to the villagers and has made Ruipathar the only village in the whole of Melghat district (which consists of 322 villages) to have 24-hour continuous access to water.

 

The same village was also in need for basic home and street lighting.

 

The Issue: A few years before March 2011, the government had attempted to electrify the villages in the Melghat district belt. Electrical transmission lines were brought from a power grid to the villages and street lights were installed. Government officials had come for the inauguration ceremony and the village received electricity, but only for one day. Ever since that inauguration day the village never saw any light and were left in a dire state of blackouts.

 

The Project: This time around again, in March 2011, Maitri, the Pune-based NGO, undertook the project to bring solar powered electricity to Ruipathar, in collaboration with the village people. Technical support and project management were provided by Sunlit Future to install street and home lights in Ruipathar. The necessary funding was donated by an Italian NGO called HUWI (Humanwave Italia), that supports environmental projects in remote parts of India. Students of Sankalp helped out, and a few other private donors also chipped in. The project cost was around Rs.10Lakhs (or $22,000 in 2011).

 

Social Impact: Since then, Ruipathar has become the only village out of a total of 322 villages of the Melghat region having 24-hour access to water and availability of electricity during nights thanks to solar powered energy.