Authors: Gaj Raj Singh and Rajesh Bajpai
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The Saumya Chauhan Memorial Welfare Society (SCMWS) has been constituted in the memory of Er. Saumya Chauhan. The Society was registered on 15th January, 2009 under Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 in Meerut with the objectives : to introduce Renewable Energy in the villages to meet the energy needs of the rural people, the agricultural sector and boarding homes for orphanages/ old aged people; to educate girls & boys to make them self reliant after imparting needlework training, weaving, handicraft, related rural cottage industries including free education of computer & technical education in villages/rural areas; to improve health & sanitation, focus on removal of women drudgery, establish women & child primary health care centers; to promote women empowerment through awareness campaigns in rural areas; and to create Self Help Groups (SHGs) & user’s groups promoting different activities run in the centers of society, including growing medicinal plants for the production of Ayurvedic Medicines for sustaining themselves and thereafter its marketing, if any.

As a first step, the SCMWS observed/noted the poor electricity supply in the villages of the project area. It was told by the villagers that generally there is no electricity supply in the evening hours, which causes problems in the smooth functioning of their evening activities, such as, household chores and also the education of their children. The Society in this direction made an effort to provide them with clean, environmental friendly and a reliable supply of solar light. The SCMWS implemented / commissioned its first Solar Lantern Charging Station at Pachgaon Patti Sanwal, District Meerut (UP), India on 27th June, 2009 under Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) Campaign, an initiative of TERI, New Delhi.

The Solar Lantern Charging Station was formally inaugurated by Shri Amit Kumar Ghosh, District Magistrate, Meerut District, Uttar Pradesh, India in a glittering ceremony on 5th September, 2009. Addressing the gathering, Mr Ghosh complimented the LaBL initiative and brought out the importance of lighting in everyday life. In an encouraging note, he expressed that the initiative would provide students with better lighting facilities for studying and would also provide better lighting options for income generation opportunities in the villages. Mr Gaj Raj Singh, Chief Mentor, SCMWS, said that an operator in the village Shri Satpal had been trained to operate the Solar Charging Station installed in the village. He charges the lanterns during day time and distributes them in the evening to 70 households including shopkeepers and local vendors at a rent of Rs.3/- per night. Dr Mridula Singh, President, SCMWS said that a women Self Help Group (SHG) had been formed in the village to cater for the needs of the women folk and utilization of their evening hours in income generation activities with the help of Solar Lanterns. Shop keepers and local vendors also sell their goods in the late evening since the introduction of Solar Lanterns in the village. The village Pradhan Mr Dinesh Chauhan continues to provide all types of support to SCMWS to ensure smooth implementation of developmental activities in the village.
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Gaj Raj Singh
Dr. Mridula Singh, President, SCMWS, Meerut (UP), India
Email: scmws2009 at gmail.com

Rajesh Bajpai
Email: energy_raj at rediffmail.com