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CSR: Perfetti launches Solar Electrification Project in Uttarakhand
CB Bureau May 9, 2013

In an effort to provide clean, affordable and sustainable lighting in the remote areas of Uttarakhand, Perfetti Van Melle India (PVM India) has launched a solar electrification project.

The project is the company’s CSR initiative and is being implemented in collaboration with TERI. In its first phase, 50 solar-powered LED lanterns were given to 50 households – about 250 people. To charge these lanterns, a solar charging station has been installed at village Dugari Khatta 1, which comes under the gram panchayat of Biriya Block in Khatima District of Udham Singh Nagar.

Situated on the foothills of the Himalayas, Dugari Khatta 1 and Dugari Khatta 2 are dense forest areas where electricity is yet to reach. Most people in these areas still rely on traditional kerosene lamps – the hazards of which are known to all – for their day-to-day chores.

Interestingly, the centralized solar charging station is run by a woman entrepreneur who has been trained by TERI for basic operations and maintenance. She will also be responsible for monitoring and maintaining logbooks and faults/rectification status, daily upkeep of the lanterns and solar panels, as well as maintaining contact with energy enterprises for the regular service of lanterns.

'Light is a key issue in such remote parts of the country and can truly transform lives. Through this programme, the productive day is effectively being stretched by six hours, thus providing more time for domestic chores and education. Solar energy is a great way to provide electricity in such areas, since it is ecofriendly and self-sustainable. We are very happy to launch this project and bring a positive change in the community,' read a statement from Stefano Pelle, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Perfetti Van Melle.

'One of the major challenges faced by the world today is providing sustainable energy. The task is massive but solutions need to meet specific basic needs in an efficient manner. Lighting based on solar energy is very effective for areas that are deprived or have poor access. The "Lighting a Billion Lives" campaign of TERI is a step in the direction of making clean lighting available to poor households,' read the statement from IH Rehman, director, Lighting a Billion Lives campaign, The Energy and Resources Institute.

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