Solar Energy, a Boon or Curse
Thanks to solar energy, a lot of remote villages are getting lights at night. Yes, it is a sad truth that plenty of villages in rural parts of India still have no electricity. The villagers in Kholibithar used to rely on kerosene lamps to light up their homes. Nobody goes out in the dark as the predators wander in the night. These circumstances are changing now. The streets are well-lit with LED solar lights and kids no longer need kerosene lamps to study at night. Since it is a hilly region, getting a grid connection is hard. Hence a small solar grid is installed to give enough electricity to the villagers.
As part of the rural electrification scheme, the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency helped 24 villages in Komna block of Nuapada district to use solar energy. The government claims that more than 392 villages in Odisha are using renewable energy of which majority have opted for solar energy. According to the Central Electricity Authority, Odisha produces 582.04 MW.
If this is the situation in Odisha, it is just the opposite in the villages around Jaisalmer. The villagers are protesting against solar companies for damaging the balance of the ecosystem in Degrai oran, home to the endangered Indian Bustard. Around 83,000 birds get killed annually due to high-tension wires in Jaisalmer. It is a dense forest right where villagers send their cattles to graze on but now so many trees were cut down to install high tension wires and towers, breaking the 600 year old tradition of not cutting the trees. The solar company has fixed the high tension wires at a height 20 feet. According to the locals, the total height of camels and the rider comes up to 13 feet and the gap between the high tension wire and the rider is alarmingly close.
The green companies are faced with an order from the Supreme Court asking them to take transmission lines underground protecting the trees, tradition and the endangered Indian Bustard. The action adhering to the order is yet to be taken.
- PRIYANKA IYER