Finally I saw a micro hydro project……


September 18th, 2015

IMG_2255The place is not safe as it is said to be an extremist area. It takes around two hours to reach the village of Badamanjari from Koraput by a hired field vehicle. I have never used a road of such kind, earthen and muddy one, going through the hills where the vehicle can slip if there is rain. But I decided to go there as I was not able to control my anxiety to see a successful micro hydro project. The previous day I had tried to see one which is near to the district headquarter but I could not go there because of heavy rain. The vehicle got stuck in the mud and the driver was not ready to take us uphill.

IMG_2345Badamanjari village can be termed one of the remotest, having no roads, electricity or mobile network.  It is a tough place to stay. On the other hand, the scenic beauty of the village cannot be expressed in words. Surrounded with hills and forest and small hill streams the village can contribute to tourism in the state. The village is mostly inhabited by the indigenous communities with around 91 households. Agriculture is the main source of income.

IMG_2353 Practical Action is working with a broken micro hydro which provided electricity to the villagers for 6-7 years. The people have a taste for  electricity but remain deprived of it as it was damaged. With the support of a local NGO partner, Koraput Farmers Association (KFA) Practical Action took up the task of rehabilitating it and ensure a community based management system. The project aimed at providing electricity to the villagers along with establishing rural enterprises with the use of electricity.

The following inputs were provided for the better management of the micro hydro;

  1. Skill development around enterprise development such as business plan development, market research through PMSD
  2. Rehabilitation of civil components and electro-mechanical components
  3. Renewal of power-based enterprises and installation of new enterprises.

IMG_2365

Now the system produces more than 30kw of electricity – just as before, this electrifies around 110 households in two villages; Badamanjari and Phulpadar. Besides this two enterprises have been established by the community members with our technical support – rice hulling and turmeric processing.

As the villagers may not be able to pay a big amount towards the user charges for the consumption of electricity, the plan is to collect somewhat a good amount (as per meter) from the enterprises which can sustain the system. Still the villagers have decided to collect Rs. 30/- per month per household towards the charges. All the enterprises have started but it will take little time to make those fully functional in terms of market.

IMG_2362I am not sure if the village will get a grid connection in near future, but this micro hydro is definitely going to change the fate of the two villages in coming years. The children can now study in the evening. A few people have already purchased televisions. Both of these will help to educate the children and community as well.

The doors are open for them to see the wider world now.

2 responses to “Finally I saw a micro hydro project……”

  1. Goutam Aryabhusan Says:

    The blog looks so lively that anybody who has a slightest imagination can visualize the texts in to scenes. I feel most of us should visit such sites and experience the true trails of development. I bet you will be equally overwhelmed after visiting our solar – wind hybrid systems in Kalahandi as well.

  2. Sarat Kumar Patnaik Says:

    Dear Sir,

    I was not really aware that during your visit you were gathering all these information. But you have very neatly elaborated the observation. who ever reads it will definitely can visualize the village. Thank you very much for so nicely explaining the things.

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