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Solar energy project raises hopes for parched villagers in Unnao

According to reports, here is an apt example of government setting up infrastructure, which is eventually rendered as useless. Sample this: Khursat village, located around 30 kilometres from  Unnao got an over head tank installed to provide water to the parched villagers some 20 years ago. However, the tank never got operational in the absence of power. Crores were spent on laying of water pipelines which, not surprisingly, never carried water.

A rusted lock that hangs outside the water pumping room in this village is suggestive of the fact that the pump, which itself is shrouded in cob webs never started. The nearby over head tank stands tall symbolising poor implementation of government policies. And that too while providing basic necessity as water.

Residents of the Muslim dominated village claim that not a single drop of water was received from the facility. “I do not know why this was constructed in the first place,” said Saifuddin, a villager. Ask a villager as to when did he receive power and he would gawkily look at you. “I think we got the power one day for four hours last year. Ever since, there have been only power cuts,” said Mohammad Shareef of Mohammad Kheda village, housing a population of near 700.

However, the picture is all set to change, as  New Energy Development Authority (Neda), in association with a private partner, has installed a solar powered water pump to feed another water tank. It was only two weeks ago that this water pump, acclaimed as one of India’s biggest solar powered water pump, started feeding an over head tank having a capacity of around 2 lakh litres. Like the one in Khursat, this over head tank too was constructed by UP  Jal Nigam some four years ago under the rural water supply scheme. But that remained non-functional in the absence of power.

It was on May 25 that Neda roped in a private agency to install a solar panel that provides between 700 to 1200 Kw of power to drive the 15  HP motor. “The initial capital cost may be high, but that is recovered swiftly within years,” said Tarun Singh, the chief executive officer of the private company associated with the project. “There has to be some solution to the ever rising power crisis in the state. What other than the  solar energy. The pump would work throughout the day and will continue to fill the over head tank. It automatically shuts down in the night, when there is no sun,” Singh said.

Of late, the  Akhilesh Yadav government has been showing keen interest in use of solar power. The facility in Khursat is expected to serve some 26 villages around, each with two main links. But that too hardly serves the purpose as the pipe lines have developed leakages. “We are not able to open the water from the pump into the main line as the pipe lines are badly damaged,” said the pump operator.

Jal nigam officials said that it was not only the lack of enough power supply or the poor conditions of the water pipe lines that causes the crisis in the locality. “There have been incidents of thefts of wires and pipe line as well,” said an official.

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