"An all-women 20-member project committee, elected by the grama sabha, will own and manage the power station, while ITI-recruits, among tribals, will operate the plant."
India - Power Generation by Tribal Women
M. Malleswara Rao
HYDERABAD: Power generation by tribal women? Incredible? But, this is to happen from June in the forest villages of Vetamamidi, Pinjarikonda and Metlapalem, in East Godavari district, where work is in full swing to harness the Yeleru river for power generation.
A decade-long government effort to ensure benefits out of water bodies in the forest areas — such as hill-streams, waterfalls and rivulets — to local tribals will pay off from this month when the three mini-hydel projects, taken up at these resolate habitations, will begin power generation.
An all-women 20-member project committee, elected by the grama sabha, will own and manage the power station, while ITI-recruits, among tribals, will operate the plant. This is the first experiment of its kind, lending a social angle to electricity generation.
According to K. Raghu, deputy chief projects manager, AP Tribal Power Company, which was formed to act as the technical/financial facilitator for the projects, the mini-hydel units will generate 45 lakh units each annually and sell them to AP Eastern Power Distribution Company for Rs.2.49 a unit.
Each project will get an annual revenue of Rs.1 crore from sales. Plans have been drawn up to use Rs.70 lakh for repayment of loans and operation and maintenance. The balance of Rs.30 lakh will be spent on the development of the tribal hamlet. While the cost of each mini-unit is Rs.5.8 crore, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has granted Rs.3.1 crore as subsidy and the NABARD covers the balance by loan.
Eighty-seven potential locations have been identified in tribal tracts for setting up similar mini-hydel units, with a total capacity of 147 mw and 10 of them have been submitted to the Ministry for clearance.
The locations include two on the Lower Sileru (Khammam district) and one on the Kuntala waterfalls (Adilabad). Pre-feasibility reports have been prepared for eight other projects, five in East Godavari and three in Vizianagaram.
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