04 August 2014

Former Chief Minister of Bihar, and eminent JDU member, Nitish Kumar interacting with senior campaigner renewable energy, Manish Ram. Nitish Kumar visited Dharnai on 4th August 2014, to see the solar microgrid set up by Greenpeace India (c) Prashant Ravi


The small village of Dharnai was firmly in focus today, as eminent JDU leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar, NitishKumar visited the small village to witness first hand Greenpeace's decentralised renewable energy project there. The anticipation hung thick in the air, even as people started pouring in from early afternoon to meet him and hear him speak. 

He spent some time observing the systems installed at the local Kisanm (Farmer) Training Center. He interacted with various representatives from Greenpeace, CEED and BASIX present, after which Senior Campaigner Manish Ram showed him the instalments and explained how it worked.

He also went into the village post this, to interact with the villagers and see for himself the extent of the impact the micro grid had made to their homes. The people of Dharnai told Mr.Kumar that they have electricity for the first time in 30 years because of this project. The project has lit up one Kisan Training Centre, 50 shops, a bank and a school, few government buildings, several agricultural water pumps, 60 street lights, 450 households of 2,200 people approximately - all powered by the sun!

Find out more about the microgrid : http://dharnailive.org 

Speaking to the gathering of 2000 people he spoke of how in May 2012, when he was incumbent Chief Minister of Bihar, he had met Greenpeace and requested them to demonstrate a decentralized renewable energy project that could be replicated.

He expressed deep praise and appreciation towards Greenpeace for having accomplished this project. He said it's a great solution and needs to be worked upon to ensure that the technology grows and matures. He spoke about coal being a limited resource and renewable energy being the future - indeed the only source of power in the future - hence it's even more important that efforts be made in this direction. 

He also mentioned that it was important for the Government to expand the grid and ensure it reaches Dharnai so that the micro-grid can be integrated into it. He deeply appreciated Greenpeace's work on safeguarding the environment.

Mr.Kumar was accompanied by the State's Energy Secretary; and social scientist & Founder-Member Secretary of Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) Dr.Shaibal Gupta. Their presence and comments in Dharnai today clearly shows the support that this DRE project has gained from politicians, administrators and social thinkers alike, and paves the way for it's expansion in the future. In a country where 400 million people still live without electricity, there could be no greater need of the hour.

Pujarini Sen is a renewable energy campaigner at Greenpeace India