Smile is writ large on the face of Murali Kuldip of Tanginipadar in Maoist-hit Narayanpatna area in Koraput district. For the past two months, the village has been lighted by solar lights for the past two months. Villagers said they were accustomed to the darkness. "Their children studied under kerosene lamps and no government official stayed in the village as there was no power," said sarpanch of Tentulipadar Mulia Mandangi.
"We are delighted as the village, where people were living in darkness for so many decades, has been equipped with solar street lights. Children are being able to play and study in the evening. Earlier, we felt threated by wild animals venturing inside the villages, but now it is safe with lights," he said.
The Koraput district administration has provided 17 solar-powdered street lights to the village with a population of 381. Official sources said 200 remote villages in Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon and Boipariguda blocks will be lit up using solar power. Out of the 71 identified villages in Narayanpatna, the administration has installed 274 street lights in 26.
"There are some remote places in the district which have not been connected with our power-supply grid because of different reasons. We have identified such villages and will provide them with solar street lights. The aim is that no village should be devoid of electricity," said collector (Koraput) Jaya Kumar V.
Apart from building the villager's confidence, electrifying those also helps in strengthening their economy as they get extra working hours at night, he added. Officials said electrification is just the first step towards development of remote villages in the district. Now we plan to provide safe drinking water and pucca roads to more villages in the interior pockets of the district, the collector said.