Dimapur, Feb. 24 (EMN): In a pioneering initiative to deliver last-mile access to electricity in rural areas of the north-eastern state of Nagaland, the Mon district administration and Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) inaugurated the first of the three mini-grids in Totokchingha village was inaugurated by MLA N Thongwang Konyak on February 23.
An update from Smart Power India informed that two other solar mini grids in Chenwetnyu and Longkei would be inaugurated in the month of March 2022. The two organisations recently signed a 20-year agreement to set up mini-grids in rural Nagaland in January this year.
Speaking at the event, Thavaseelan K stated that the first three grids were financed by Smart Power India adding that they are first of the several mini-grids to be installed in the Mon district. He stated that the project would make power available 24×7.
“Nabard is supporting livelihood interventions. It has set up a revolving fund, which is going to be used to support entrepreneurs. Eventually, this fund would grow bigger to support entrepreneurs across the Mon district,” he added.
MRDF managing director, Vijay Bhaskar, informed that they would install mini grids in all 130 villages of Mon district in the next 3-4 years. He added that the pilot project would be eventually scaled across all villages in Nagaland.
“We are following a PPP model of partnership – public, private and people, people being the most important part. Smart Power India has given us a roadmap to do this in the next 7 years. We will put all efforts to make this vision a reality,” Bhaskar said.
Nabard general manager, Tiakala Ao, stated that the bank is sponsoring a group of beneficiaries from Totok Chingha, Longkei and Chenwetnyu for their visit to other districts in March, where they would be exposed to bio floc, fish farming.
She stated that the training would bring an economic boom to the region as it is going to attract reverse migration thereby enabling rural youth to set up micro-enterprises in the district.
Senior director of Smart Power India, Samit Mitra, stated that it is a complete village integrated development programme that is not only about lighting loads but also about enterprises, livelihoods, productive loads, all things that contribute to the overall well-being of the community.
“This is the first time we have undertaken a project with MRDF to expand our footprint of mini-grids in North-East India. We have funded 3-4 plants to initiate the programme so that there’s proof of concept on the ground here which other organisations can replicate and scale across Nagaland and beyond,” he said.
He expressed hope that the programme would meet its objective of providing livelihoods and increasing the earning potential of villages in the Mon district.
It mentioned that the inaugurated mini-grids aim to enable last-mile clean energy access, improve livelihoods, support women entrepreneurs, and increase the GDP of the state while reducing GHG emissions.
It added that Smart Power India would play an important role in supporting the entire programme framework and value chain including design, delivery, and facilitating financial and market linkages. The WRI would be facilitating impact measurement of the project.