Solar power solutions for village

Chennai: If you thought the role of a Panchayat president is just to administer his / her village, you will be wrong. An ex-Panchayat president based out of Chennai has gone one step higher and is, right now, on a technology mission to develop solar solutions for his village.

Moreover, he has also implemented various schemes in the past for the uplift of his people. To top it all, even after his retirement from the post many years ago, he hasn’t lost his drive. R Elango (57) was earlier the Panchayat president of Kuthambakkam, a small village adjoining Chembarambakkam lake on the western side.

Based out of this village, he said he resigned his government job to work for the welfare of his people. ‘I have involved myself in social work right from my childhood. After completing B Tech in Anna University, I got a job in Oil India and was shifted to CSIR as a Scientist. At the time, my village was not in a good state. There was neither development not prosperity,’ he recalled. ‘

In 1992, the Narasimha Rao government passed the 73rd Amendment to implement the concept of ‘Panchayat Raj’ following which elections were held in 1996. With great love towards social work, I resigned my job, contested the election for my village and won with three-fourth majority to become the fi rst president of Kuthambakkam.

During my tenure, I introduced countless schemes for the village,’ he added. Elango said every year, he does something innovative and this has taken a new direction this year. ‘In 2000, for the fi rst time in India, I built 50 twin houses in a single colony, called ‘Samathuvapuram’, which was later adopted by the Tamilnadu government and extended to the entire State. Right now, Kuthambakkam is a model village in Tamilnadu.

To take it to the next level, I started developing solar solutions this year, with my skills in engineering,’ he explained. The ex-Panchayat president said he was right now developing a host of electronic devices capable of tapping solar energy. ‘True development lies in sustainability. When villages function independently, they can grow faster than urban areas.

In my village, the greatest diffi culty of people, at present, is commuting and electricity supply. So, I have started developing solar equipment for operating home appliances and powered-bicycles. As of now, I have made devices for operating fans, tubelights and televisions,’ he added. Reliability and lower costs are the prime areas of focus, according to Elango. He said, ‘As an engineer, these two are the things I would look for in a product.

Solar technology is not new. It has been implemented for decades but still no one could make it affordable or reliable. I am working on my innovations in such a way that they reach every nook and corner of the village,’ he said enthusiastically. He has developed various kinds of solar receptors and also plans to open solar stations in the near future.

Elango emphasised that ‘I have almost fulfilled the power supply needs of my village and so my next initiative is making solar powered intra-village cycles. These cycles will be extremely affordable and one just needs to charge them to commute. Not only that, when charging stations are set up, the process will get even more refi ned. The greatest advantage of these solar solutions is that they are totally pollution-free.’

         

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