Hero: Ghanshyam Yadav
When it came to
encourage the use of solar energy in Rampura, the man of the hour was
Ghanshyam Yadav. A pilot project was planned by Scatec Solar in
collaboration with Development Alternatives to develop solar energy in
Rampura village, Jhansi. Rampura was yet to be blessed with electricity.
The goal of the project was to provide electricity by tapping renewable
energy (solar energy), as well as provide educational and training
support to the villagers in the areas of education, health care, raising
the agricultural productivity, and improving water management.
A short time ago, most of the energy demands in Rampura were dependent
on the fossil fuels. Here, kerosene lamps were used for the lighting
purpose, diesel pumps for irrigation, cow dung for cooking, and so on.
There was no TV, fan, etc., in the village. Children studied under the
kerosene lamps in unhealthy conditions. Women would try to finish their
cooking and household chores before it became dark in the evening.
Although the village was and remains economically sound - Rampura has a
good groundwater table and acres of cultivable land are being
transformed into a model farm with multiple cropping (three crops in a
year) - it was still backward with harsh living conditions and no
Scatec has set up two community solar power plants, one each in Rampura
village outside Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, and the other at Gopalpur,
through its affiliate, Scatec Solar. Scatec Solar wants to use the pilot
project to demonstrate the viability, collect data and build a working
model which will enable a large-scale roll-out across India and other
similar regions of the world. When the representatives of DA and Scatec
Solar came to Rampura, the first person they came across was Ghanshyam
This forty five-year-old unassuming farmer from Rampura does not own a
lot of land,
he truly believes in progress and development for all. It is his
calling. He wants to transform his village into a model community with
all the amenities and facilities that have been a dream till date. There
is no step too difficult, or no road too hard in his endeavour.
As a result of Ghanshyam Yadav’s untiring efforts, from a village where
there was no kind of schooling whatsoever, Rampura had its own primary
school in 1997-98. The village children were finally able to study and
learn. Yadav was also instrumental in building a Panchayat Bhavan, where
the entire community carries out its activities. He was also
instrumental in building a concrete road, connecting Rampura to the
world. And this is certainly not the end of this man’s accomplishments.
In 1999, under the aegis of DA, Yadav started the Swajal Pariyojana in
his village and acted as the president of this body. He also established
a farmers’ club for the progress of the farmers in 2008 with the help of
NABARD. He presides over this community as well.
When the talks were on to harness and bring about solar electricity to
Rampura, Ghanshyam Yadav put his mind, body and soul into the endeavour.
In his words, ‘I understood that my village was now on the road to real
progress. In today’s times, one cannot avail of any growth or
development without electricity.’
A Village Energy Committee was formed with local people’s
representatives plus experts actively involved in the development of the
area. This committee planned, implemented, monitored and controlled the
project activities. The committee also helped to construct, operate and
maintain the centre as well as to mobilise the rural masses for the
various community activities.
Land was needed to install the solar apparatus required to electrify
Rampura. Yadav managed to arrange for the same from the community
holdings in the village. He had the area leveled out at his own expense
and even got a layer of mud from outside the village and laid it over
the field. Till the work of installing all the panels as also everything
else went on, Ghanshyam Yadav was available, along with his motorcycle,
tractor, and everything else he thought needed to get the work done. He
refused to accept any remuneration for his efforts. He even had the
people installing the set up staying as his guests.
In the beginning, Ghanshyam met with a lot of resistance from the
villagers, but nothing deterred him. He said, ‘There is no greater faith
than helping others’. Obstacles seemed to give him greater strength. And
obstacles were numerous. None of the villagers were willing to buy the
connection, but everyone wanted the poles to be planted right outside
their house. Yadav held many meetings with the villagers, and gradually,
people began to see the benefits of electricity. The resistance slowly
crumbled. Then another problem arose. Some of the people did not have
the money to pay for meter security or installing the set up in their
house. Here too, the hero of Rampura came to their aid. He paid for 18
houses. The first 18 houses
were able to boast of illumination.
Of the 69 households in Rampura, more than 50 households have
electricity. Electronic equipments such as lights, fans, air coolers, TV
sets can be seen in most of the houses. There is a flour mill too.
Dozens of streetlights light up the dark, and at night, the village
seems to belong to another world. Rampura has become famous in the
entire region for its solar power.
The villagers are required to pay for the power, and the revenues
generated will cover operations and maintenance costs, as well as the
replacement of batteries. The contribution by the villagers also ensures
that the community is engaged in the operation and maintenance of the
plant and should motivate the villagers to take responsibility of the
system. The electricity tariffs are based on what villagers currently
pay for different sources of energy, such as kerosene and diesel.
The Rampura Electricity Generation Committee takes care of sundry
activities, including meter readings, preparing the bills, distributing
them, getting the payments, allotting new connections, putting up small
industries based on electricity, etc. With experience, the people are
getting better at it.
The entire miracle is all due to the untiring efforts of Ghanshyam Yadav.
When lauded for his toils, the man smiles and says, ‘We must make
Back to Contents