Afew kilometres away from Nawalgarh in the ‘Bhakhriyo Ki Dhaani Basawa’ village, a villager named Deeparam Yadav went outside his state immediately after his marriage to earn more money. He used to work in a grocery shop in Assam, and kept for himself a part of the earning for his own use and sent the remainder to his family. Everything was going in the right direction till the time Deeparam Yadav lost the use of his legs. Deeparam had come back home during his vacations, and fell down from a guava tree. He broke his legs, and from then on he had to sit back home. He started stitching to earn a livelihood, but slowly with the passage of time it became difficult for him to run his family with the earnings that came in. There were four people to be fed and the daily income was a mere 20 to 30 rupees. Almost 10 years passed, but a better option for earning an income was not found and earning a livelihood for the family presented increasing difficulties. At was at this difficult point of time that the Morarka Foundation came as a ray of hope.
The Morarka Foundation started a project for physically handicapped people who did not have any employment so that they could earn by sitting at home. The Foundation has made 6 such units in the last 3 years, where the handicapped were provided with employment and are leading immensely better lives now. In this context, Deeparam is the sixth member to benefit from the project. The Foundation put a solar lamp panel in his house, gave him 15 days of training, taught him the working procedures and made Deeparam self independent. The batteries get charged from the sun’s rays and the money keeps coming by giving the lamp on rent. In most of the villages in the area the supply of electricity is irregular, so the students and farmers along with other people like shopkeepers take the solar energy run lamps on rent. In this way there is a regular daily income of rupees 200 to 250 for the family even when Deeparam sits at home. Apart from the shopkeepers, the demand for the solar lamps increases during the season of marriages and functions, bringing in more rent.
In the same way, Murari Lal Sharma had lost one of his legs in a road accident 8 years ago. He was a very competent driver and a very good worker as well, but from the last 8 years there was a lot of despair in his life. Murari Lal had become handicapped and was no longer fit to do any kind of work. The members of the Foundation met Murari Lal. He was very excited at becoming a part of the Solar Lamp Project. The Foundation put a solar lamp panel in his house and gave him 15 days of training, taught him about the maintenance of the lamp and also gave him a diary to keep an account of the rentals.
The life of Murari Lal runs smoothly with the help of the Solar Lamp given by the Morarka Foundation and he really likes the system very much. This employment alternative has been provided by the Morarka Foundation on the basis of an experiment. The first person to be added in this project was Kalu Bhat of Kathrathal. Poverty and unemployment along with disability had spread darkness in his life. There were 9 members in his family and he was the eldest among his brothers and sisters. His responsibility was huge: the burden of supporting the family was on the shoulders of Kalu. A point had come when starvation stared Kalu and his family in the face. Kalu, who was handicapped from childhood, was made a partner in the Solar Lamp Project by the Foundation. He was also given a solar panel and provided with proper training. Kalu gives concessions in rent to the students.
Today, Kalu is quite happy with his job. He has become strong enough to handle the responsibilities of his family. Kalu gives the credit for his new life to the Morarka Foundation. With the help of the Foundation, brightness came into the life of Kalu. He became an example in Nawalgarh and in the areas nearby.
The journey of the Morarka Foundation did not stop at Katrathal. From one village to another, to all helpless young men and young women, the Foundation kept reaching out to those who were in need of support and self independence. Radheshyam of Kolsiya village also got linked to the project. Radheshyam suffered from polio and had already lost the lost his father. His education was also left stalled because of this. Radheshyam too was given a solar panel and provided with proper training. With this the income of Radheshyam increased to such an extent that he became capable of providing a good livelihood for himself and his family. In the same way Neelam Kunwar of Ghoriwala Kalan has also become self independent. If somebody asks Neelam then she related the story of her success along with the story of help provided by the Morarka Foundation. Earlier, neither did Neelam have a piece of land nor did she have any arrangements to feed her family two full meals twice a day. Their problems had not ended there. Neelam used to long for a house and above all she had the biggest misfortune of disability, having been afflicted with polio as a child. The Morarka Foundation gave her support and a helping hand. On behalf of the Foundation, Neelam was given a solar energy panel and 25 solar lamps, and was also provided with proper training on the solar lamps. This not only gave her a job but she also became an example in the nearby areas. The disabled not only got a job from the Solar Lamp Project, but also helped the villagers get rid of darkness.
The protagonists of the project of the Morarka Foundation, by becoming examples have become a topic of discussion in the entire Nawalgarh area. The people are amazed by the changes in their lives and are happy for them as well. The Foundation after looking at the success of its experiment has expanded its initiative to make more youths like Deeparam Yadav, Murari Lal Sharma, Neelam, Radheshyam and Kalu self independent. Promotions are thus being done for this new job; pamphlets are being distributed, so that more and more people can benefit from this project. Not only this, there are thoughts of making all the villages of the Nawalgarh Tehsil a solar energy area. The Morarka Foundation with the help of their campaigns has done lot of other developmental work. Firstly to provide jobs to the unemployed and the disabled youths. Secondly, to change the view point of those people who took their physical disability as a curse. Apart from this, changing solar energy into a means of employment is an eye-opener for all those village areas where there is no provision of electricity even today. If this project is introduced in villages which plunge into darkness by the time evening approaches, then not only will there be an arrangement of electricity in these villages but this will help disabled people like Deeparam Yadav, Murari Lal Sharma, Neelam, Radheshyam and Kalu make a proud stand for themselves.
Solar Energy: A Viable Alternative
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Head of the project, Mukesh Gupta, gives a lot of emphasis to the production, storage and distribution of solar energy, but the Government is least interested in this issue. Mukesh Gupta says that the solar energy can prove to be a very good alternative to energy production, the only need here is that the Government should take an initiative in this area. As the production, storage and distribution of electricity is the responsibility of the State governments, it is necessary for them to pay special attention to this. The way in which encouragement has been given to the storage of solar energy for the production of energy along with giving a brilliant alternative of employment in Gujarat, in the same way the storage, production and distribution of solar energy should be given a lot of encouragement in the entire country. The expense for the set up of the solar energy panel comes to approximately 60 thousand rupees. Managing such a big amount of money is not possible for everyone, so Mukesh Gupta advocates the idea of adding this sort of set up in loans and giving it on subsidised rates. According to him, as per this system a person who takes this set up would be investing only 5 thousand rupees, 15 to 30 thousand rupees could come as loan and the remaining amount could be subsidised. Only then will this spread in all the different parts of the country comprehensively. Not only will the problem of electricity be reduced with this, but it will also provide a new alternative of employment. For the time being the Government has spoken about giving encouragement to the storage and distribution of solar energy, but it has not been placed on the right model in the right procedure in all the states at the ground level. Where the cost of electricity production from solar energy in Gujarat is 11 rupees per unit, there the Rajasthan government has put this cost at 6 rupees per unit only. In these circumstances, the motivation of people who think of putting up this type of set up goes down, and as a result of not finding profits these type of set up’s are also closing. At this point of time, the country has the capacity of making solar cells equalling 100 megawatt, as per which 19 units have been installed, out of which 11 units are completely closed. In the last 7 to 8 units also, work in being done only at 10 to 15 per cent of its capacity. According to one project of the Indian Government, it was said that electricity would be bought at high prices every year from those people who would produce 500 to 1000 megawatt of electricity, but due to lack of unity among all the States this project could not provide a lot of benefit. Apart from this, there is no provision even of any help from the Government for the solar panel set up.