AHMEDABAD: After living all their lives without electricity, maldhari community of Jambhutala has found light in solar energy. Jambhutala is an interior village in Gir sanctuary and will be first to be installed with LED-based solar lighting system. The village has around 61 households.
Principal secretary, environment and forests, SK Nanda, says, "This is pilot project to be implemented first in this village. Later on it will be replicated in other villages too. Solar-based lighting system is the best suited to the villagers' need without compromising on the sanctuary ecology."
According to forest department, Jambhutala is solely depended upon either kerosene or firewood, none available easily.
The project will be implemented by Gujarat Ecology Commission. Member Secretary of GEC, E Balagurusamy, says, "These villages are part of the Gir eco system and play a crucial role in protection of the wildlife. They are also a great source of information for the forest department on any suspicious activities inside the sanctuary."
"Providing electricity lines is not a viable options as the overhead wires or underground electric wires are fraught with dangers, which can affect the wildlife inside the sanctuary," adds he.
The total project cost will be around Rs five lakh. Balagurusamy says, "We are hoping that the project will be completed before the monsoon season."
According to GEC, each of the household will be provided with two solar lights, one for the kitchen purpose and other for other household activities and also street light facility for them. Nanda says, "Earlier, during our meeting with villagers inside the sanctuary, they had complained of non-availability of kerosene and also lot of problems in collecting firewood."