Young, driven and innovative, Sunny Arokia Swamy, Balachandra M Hegde, Kumara Swamy and Kotresh Veerapura, students at Bengaluru’s MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, turned a college project into a mode of lighting lives up. Wanting to put their skills to good use, the four students decided to bring about a significant change to the lives of residents in the remote villages of Khangav and Ghatkunang, Karnataka.
18 households now, thanks to the efforts of these students, have been provided with solar-powered lighting. The villages so far had no electricity, and these lights were the first sighting the villagers had of a light bulb. “We first decided to survey the villages,” Kotresh told to Bangalore Mirror. “We wanted to install our systems where it was really required.” While travelling, they found several villages that not only lacked electric supply, but also proper roads. Following trails and mud roads, they finally reached the small group of houses in the Western Ghats, just a couple of hours from Goa. Sunny said, “We started our journey to the dense forest region on February 5, this year. We had planned to survey the villages for at least two days. We witnessed the life there and interacted with the people. It was unbelievable that a service we take for granted has never found its way into this dense forest.”
They then shared their experience with the Head of the Department, who readily agreed to support their venture. The villages lacked even the basic electricity lines, the mammoth task involved manual installation. Also, the solution to the lack of basic lighting had to be entirely solar-powered. They soon gathered other students to help them through the mammoth task. Meeting every weekend in the college lab, and keeping in mind the remoteness, living conditions, and the climate of the villages, a prototype was created and tested for reliability and durability.
After the prototype was approved of, 20 such systems were constructed, the per set cost coming up to 20,000. After months of hard work, the systems were finally installed last month, each consisting of a 100Wp solar panel, 65Ah battery, 1 tube light and 3 bulbs. The solar panels are equipped to light four sources for up to 48 hours. To install the systems, the students had to use a plain torch for lighting and manual drills. To ensure sustainability, they then taught residents how to maintain the systems, and trained local electricians adequately. Their long and difficult journey culminated into success in April , when the first build was lit. “Their first reaction was to pray. That moment made us realise how much their lives had changed,” said Balachandra.
The Logical Indian congratulates Sunny, Balachandra, Kumara and Kotresh on the success of their brainchild, and appreciates their innovation and thoughtfulness. We wish them the best for the bright future they are sure to have. These students went to great trouble to ameliorate the lives of those less fortunate. Just like them, it is the duty and the responsibility of each and every one of us to try and alleviate the troubles members of our society face owing to their socioeconomic status.