Three tribal settlements in Tamil Naduâ€™s Erode district were electrified for the first time, seven decades after independence. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco), installed automatic lighting systems at Malliamman Durgham in Kadambur hills, Ramaranai in Talamalai and Kathirimalai in Bargur hills by fitting 226 solar panels costing a little over Rs 23 lakhs, according to The Hindu.
The settlements located in hilly areas have no road connectivity. And apart from one settlement - Malliamman Durgham - which was electrified earlier but lost the poles to a forest fire in 1970, the other colonies were receiving electricity for the first time. Houses were lit up in the night using kerosene lamps and those who owned electronic devices such as television could never use them. Lack of electricity even reportedly forced families to move to other areas.
"The tribal hamlets are located in hilly areas with no approach roads to the houses. There are just hilly tracts to these houses. So it is difficult to provide conventional electricity as the poles and other equipment will have to be physically carried to the place. Even for solar power, the panels, batteries and other equipment had to be carried by hand," said Chandrasekharan, Chief Engineer, Tangedco in Erode.
According to reports, the hamlets can only be reached after a two to four hour walk.
"We are providing three LED lights and one charging point for each house," Chandrasekaran added.
So far, 124 solar panels have been installed at Malliamman Durgham in Kadambur, 18 panels at Ramaranai in Talamalai and 85 panels at Kathirimalai in the Bargur hills. The electrification will be done in phases with all houses being covered in the project.