Bihar Techie ‘Lights’ Up Homes in Rural Bihar Through Solar Way

Patna:  Forty year old, Umrawati Devi, a landless labourer in Padman Chapra,  a village hardly 100 kilometres away from Patna, the  capital city of  Bihar, is beaming with happiness talking about her  new “light” in the life. She & her two young kids are for the first time in their life  enjoying the luminous light emanating from an advanced solar lamp in her thatched hut.

Till few months ago, Devi  use to live under pitch darkness after the sun sets in. This change  in her life was brought  by 31 year old Amritanshu Bhardwaj , a software engineer, a native of the same village, who decided to do something to “light” up the lives  of  poor families who are damned to live a  life in ignominy.  Amritnashu has worked in USA in one of the well known film studio before moving back to India.

Umrawati Devi holding new light in her life.

Umrawati Devi holding solar lamp in her hut.

On his initiative of  “Light a Home”, Bhardwaj, says, “It is unfortunate that a major population still have no electricity facility in Bihar. My visit to my own village gave me a reality check on the lives of  these hapless families. After sunset,  their lives come to a standstill. The rising prices of kerosene makes it more difficult for them to use it for any other purpose than cooking. This impacts children education and safety of the family too.”

In Bihar, kerosene is the main source of lighting.  Mostly, kerosene is available in black market only, where a litre costs no less than Rs 40-45. Devi survives on less than  Rs 60 (less than a dollar) per day.

Bhardwaj dedicated a portion of his monthly salary and pooled money  from his international IT clients  who willingly supported  the noble gesture of lighting up these homes through solar lamps.  Bhardwaj says,” The first 10 solar lamps were installed in the homes of the women who have lost their husbands. ”

At present, these bulbs are being used for multiple purposes in the villages- cooking,  kids study under it,  women carry it when they  go out in night and also for community gathering.

The solar lamp  provides 6 hrs of lighting. It is rainproof , break resistant and auto shut off too which makes it is handy for use in villages. Bhardwaj says, ” We also wrote to  the multi national parent company of the advanced solar lamp, through email & facebook page to support the cause but they did not responded back,”

However, this did not deterred Bhardwaj resolve. In pilot project, Bhardwaj under his Ek foundation distributed 10 highly advanced solar lamps to selected few families. Each bulb costed  Rs 1200.

On solar energy, Bhardwaj said, ” There are abundance of solar power which can be harnessed to light many villages. I wish &  hope, government also starts promoting solar lamps  in more transparent manner to reach out to needy ones,”

According to a household amenities and assets in Bihar report released by the Census of India published in Rediff. com  in year 2012 states, that “Only 16.4 per cent of Bihar’s 1.89 crore families  or households have the luxury to light up their residences with electricity, the remaining, nearly 83.6 per cent families are forced to live without electricity.”

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A video on the initiative: :