Christmas when all the surrounding villages were filled with darkness
due to a power shutdown, our Pfutseromi was the only village in the
area shining as a star on the hills since every home was lit with
"our own electricity" produced from khuri (wood),
said Pastor Rev.L. Ritse, while welcoming his guests from Delhi.
The occasion was to
celebrate the new era of "assured power supply" through 100
kw biomass gasifier power plant that would supply power to over 400
households in the village, and sell the surplus power to nearby
villages. Over 500 women, men and children had gathered in their
traditional tribal dresses on both the sides of road to welcome
A.M.Gokhale, Secretary, Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources’
(MNES), who had come to inaugurate the plant.
It has been installed at
a cost of Rs 38 lakh under the MNES plan to electrify 25,000 remote
villages through renewable energy sources like bio-gas, solar and small
hydel plants, where it is difficult to supply conventional power due
to a difficult terrain.
The small bio-gas power plant will also help in providing employment opportunities for operating the plant and also generating fresh opportunities for the youth of the villages.
To run the plant, the
villagers have put aside a chunk of community land on which they would
grow fast-growing trees for generating power. Two youth have been
trained by the Gujarat-based company that has installed the plant, to
run the generation machines.
A committee has been
constituted, said Pastor Ritse, to collect monthly charges from
households and to maintain the plant. "We are sure this plant
will supply electricity to households for at least 10 years, and will
raise the standard of living of villagers," he said.
The village has already
planned to set up a village lake to attract tourists besides
installing streetlights and showers. In the neighbouring Chizami
village, the villagers have set up the first-ever
"community-owned" 200 kw mini-hydel project in the country
costing Rs 2.30 crore, which would supply power to two villages. The
state government has also agreed to buy surplus power. "We will
supply power to all the households at full voltage and in the evening,
when it is most required.
Households have already
agreed to pay monthly charges in time, and the profit will be
re-invested in community programmes," said K.Z. Mero, Chairman,
Project Management Committee.
In the insurgency-ridden state, Gokhale began his career as the Deputy Commissioner,
Phake. He is credited with forming of village councils and village
development boards, that are now undertaking development works like
running bus services, education and health programmes.
Expressing her happiness
over the power project, Ms Aple, a postgraduate student said, "We
are sure that during examinations, it will give us assured light and
help us get a good job."
Nagaland with a
population of over 20 lakh has only one 75 mw hydel power project, and
is incurring over Rs 50 crore net losses annually, said Toshi Aier, Principal
Secretary, Nagaland. "Small power projects would
surely play a role in lighting the villages that have remained in the
dark over decades."
Due to heavy rains from
April-October, it is difficult even to reach most of the villages,
what to talk of an assured power supply. Villages, though officially
electrified, do not get electricity most of the time. Village-owned
projects, they said, would help them light their houses besides
starting small ventures like rice mills. "We cannot wait for mega
hydel or thermal power projects with a long gestation period. The
state with vast biomass and hydel resources is ready for small power
projects that would be run by the village community," said
Nagaland has 1000 MW
power potential through 500 small projects in 1000 villages. Small
power projects have become necessary considering the fact that a large
number of villages around mega projects have remained in the dark, and
others, especially in remote and hilly areas, do not get quality power
"No doubt the cost
of power in small hydel and biomass gasifier power projects is
marginally higher than big hydel and thermal projects. But it empowers
the village community, creates jobs without any migration. Further, it
uses local natural resources without disturbing the environmental
balance," said Gokhale.
After the success of
small hydel projects in Himachal Pradesh and biomass gasifier project
in Madhya Pradesh, he said, "the ministry has chalked out a plan
to install such projects, besides solar power plants, on a large scale
in the North-East. Small hydel and biomass power can generate up to
15,000 MW power across the country."