Gorakhpur: Under the Central Government schemes meant to provide electricity and encourage rural development, solar panels are being set up across villages of Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur district.
The Purvanchal Gramin Bank (PGB) is helping residents of many villages by installing solar panels and lighting systems and offering villagers easy loans.
"The solar lights, which are being financed by the bank, cost up to 14,000 to 15,000 rupees and we provide them the loan for five years. The customer can pay back the loan at the rate of 300 rupees per month. Usually, the villagers spend more than 300 rupees to buy kerosene oil to light lamps and even after buying kerosene, they do not get enough light, and the pollution caused by kerosene has different type of effects," said Prashant Kumar, Chairman of the bank.
Kumar added that the bank is trying to provide such schemes to every village that has poor supplies of electricity. Kumar added that such lighting systems are eco-friendly and would allow the villagers to live in a pollution-free environment.
Scarcity of electricity was affecting the income of the villagers, as they were not able to work after sunset but now they are increasingly engaging in different type of works due to availability of electricity. Shesh Mani, the head of one of the villages, where solar lights are being installed said that they have already installed such lights in 30 villages of the district.
"When I asked for some assistance from the bank people, they said that they would provide the lights easily to people who are interested in installing such lights. I have installed around 30 solar lights in our village during 2009-2010. It has raised enthusiasm among people here. Their level and quantity of work has increased. Now, they do not feel that there is no electricity in their houses," said Mani.
Villagers said that they have gained multiple benefits from using solar-powered lights.
"There are a lot of benefits of installing solar lights. Our children are studying day and night. They are taking advantage of the lights. We are able to locate any snake nearby due to these lights, too. We are charging our mobiles when we want," said Shri Yadav, resident of one of the villagers.
He added that they no longer spend money on kerosene oil, which was much more expensive than the usage of solar lights.