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The journey of weavers from darkness to lightDistrict:Kamrup, Assam Village:Hatibandha Partner Organization:Chandubi Bowa Kota Samabai Samiti, Hatibandha
Since its inception, the Chandubi Weaving Centre Society has been working towards the socio-economic upliftment of communities in nine villages in Assam - Hatibandha, Tengakhal, Puijwala, Khokhapara, Ghilabari, Rangamati, Jupangbari, and Sipahipara. These villages remain un-electrified, despite repeated requests to concerned departments for access to electricity.
The villagers approached the Assam Energy Development Agency (AEDA), Guwahati to explore the possibility of lighting up the village with solar technology. AEDA in turn forwarded a proposal to TERI to adopt Hatibandha under the Lighting a Billion Lives initiative and also suggested that Hatibandha be adopted as a model village so that the weaving community, who would constitute 100% of the beneficiaries of the lanterns, could extend their working hours for improved livelihood.
TERI, with support from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), implemented a charging station there that housed 60 lanterns in October 2010. Anjali Rabha, Vice President of the society is delighted to have this solar solution. She says the program has created a good atmosphere for the weavers and students of the village. She also appreciates that the rent per solar lantern is very low and its light brighter, compared to that of kerosene oil lamps. ‘Now we can do weaving at night also, as we have to do so many things during day time and hardly get time to do weaving. Our income has gone up too.’ Babul Rabha, a resident of Khokhapara says, ‘Now we have quality light at an affordable cost, which is quite safe during storm and rain and does not go off like a kerosene lamp. Earlier we used to consume 8 liters of kerosene per month and now this has come down to 4 liters per month, saving an amount of Rs 120 a month.’
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