Odisha’s farmers reap rich harvest from TERI’s energy interventions

by By Zainab Naeem, with special inputs from K. Rahul Sharma. | The Energy and Resources Institute
Thursday, 3 April 2014 10:53 GMT

Self Help Group members in Bausadiha village engaged in grinding of Chatua. (Courtesy, TERI)

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Solar multi-utility initiative implemented by TERI is enabling enhanced livelihood generation opportunities in rural Odisha.

New Delhi, April 3rd 2014: Global think-tank, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), has installed three Off-Grid Solar PV plants in Cuttack and Mayur Bhanj districts of Orissa. The primary focus of the initiative is to see how communities associate themselves with the newly-introduced technologies and enhance their energy services for socio-economic benefit of local communities.

The project has been in operation since 2012 and focuses on enabling increased livelihood generation opportunities, enhance quality of life and improve energy access through installation and commissioning of clean energy based technologies.

Talking about the initiative, Mr Amit Kumar, Director, Energy Environment Technology Development, TERI said ‘The basic philosophy behind designing these projects was not only enabling to clean energy access but more importantly, to use clean energy as a catalyst for livelihood generation for the rural populace in these remote areas“

The energy generated here has not only helped increase production, but renewed our hopes towards brighter, cleaner, prosperous tomorrow,” said Sukha, a beneficiary from the village.

Patapolasahi, Baunshidiha, and Laxmiposi villages in Odisha face acute energy shortages due to lack of reliability of the grid. Now, solar rooftop PV system with the capacity of 8kWp, Battery Bank of capacity 48V, 300Ah and Utility Grid are being used as the Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). Some of the livelihoods generating appliances installed at these sites include vaccine refrigerator, water purifier, manure mixer, wet grinder and bottle filling machine.

Over the years, farmers of these villages from Odisha found it hard to fend for basic amenities. The size of family had enlarged, but the land holdings remained constant depleting their productivity. Hence, abject poverty enveloped the region.

Soon, farmers started migrating to other regions in search of livelihood. Seeing these conditions, TERI and SAMBANDH, a grassroots organization engaged in a range of development activities, created awareness among the farmers and mobilized them, thereby, forming an association. It was resolved that the groups would engage in preserving in producing and processing market medicine made of herbs and plants growing in the periphery.

But with limited access to electricity, production was affected. To enable the farmers to adequately process their produce using clean energy and scale up the quantum of production, the solar multi utility initiative was implemented. This SMU is not only used by individuals but also local and self- help groups.

Today, due to persistent efforts, the association is able to mass produce, adhere to client timelines and quantities, and this has resulted in an overall increase in income of the farmers involved in this business.

Another SHG is engaged in the processing of cereals and pulse into chatua (a nutritious mix of dried and ground pulses and cereals).

“Today we have seen the utility of the appliances and also the income supplementation, now we can produce more of chatua to benefit many needy mothers and malnourished children. This unit would not only benefit us, but would help seven adjoining villages. We take complete responsibility of the resources and we will adequately reward the operator and also save up for the maintenance of the SMU”, says one of the members of the Maa Mangala Self Help Group.