A New Dawn At Dusk

Feature story - July 31, 2014
Before Greenpeace India installed the solar microgrid in Dharnai it was a struggle for people to have access to energy for the basic necessities of life and livelihood -By Arvind Kumar

Dharnai, Bihar — Srichand Manjhi is over the moon for two reasons. His small village cluster within Dharnai has finally received reliable electricity, and the new chief minister of Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi, hails from the same community that he belongs to. Both have filled him with hope and optimism.

“A new kind of dawn has set in. I am witnessing bulb lights in my house for the first time. And our marginalized community has an elected head of state. This is a proud moment for us,” he said.

Dharnai, a small village in the Jehanabad district, is situated on the Patna-Gaya highway. It had no power connection for over three decades. But in March 2014, a Greenpeace India initiative had successfully installed a solar-based microgrid system to provide clean and reliable power supply to the village.

Srichand Manjhi has been a witness to the years of darkness, when lack of power had stunted the growth of Dharnai. “Now our village cluster has power and that has made life much easier and happier,” he noted. “We were dependent on kerosene lanterns and earthen lamps. But since March, we have electricity.”

With power, his locality is no longer spooky after dark. “We used to go to bed at around seven in the evening. Now, thanks to this village-based power unit, we hang around outside till late night,” he said.

Pointing at some kids in the area, he continued, “See, these kids playing at the doorstep? Soon they will be back to study at home until dinner. If our children get education and become respected people with earning jobs, what more can we ask for? All this is now happening because of the solar (microgrid). In fact, we see two Inzor (dawn in local dialect), one is sun kissed dawn at morning and another is the solar-powered dawn at the dusk.”

31 July 2014 Since March 2014 the streets of Dharnai are no longer dark or dangerous thanks to the solar-powered LED lights that have lit up every corner of the village.