Yesterday, November 15, 2008, the day Jharkhand was born, was the most satisfying and happy day of my life since on this day our organisation, Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum, with the active help and guidance of Dr. Mithilesh Dangi of Azadi Bachao Andolan, installed and put in operation a micro-thermal power plant in a remote village inside the jungle in Jharkhand, 68 kilometres from Hazaribagh. The village, Kekoria Tand in Keradari Block of Hazaribagh district, is quite inaccessible and perhaps has not been visited by any poitician or bureaucrat since the independence of the country. Yet the people have survived, are more happy than us and the community spirit is alive and kicking. Main occupation is farming and we have never been welcomed in a more memorable manner in our memory.
The plant that was installed runs on coal and water only through a steam engine coupled with an alternator and was of 4KW capacity, enough to light up the entire village and its lanes. When the micro-thermal plant started and the bulbs got lighted, one had to be there to see the wonder and happiness on the faces of the neglected tribal population to whom Jharkhand really belongs. We will be running this plant on trial for the next 2-3 months to iron out any problems and the entire plant will be operated and maintained by the people of the village who have been trained in the methodology and will have ownership of the equipment. For the first time the control of generation and distribution of electricity will be in the hands of the villagers without any governmental support or interference and this is true development and empowerment of the people which Gandhiji dreamt of and which we have conveniently forgotten in our web of selfishness. India will shine only through this methodology when people power will prevail.
The next step in the village which we have adopted will be to improve their farming and make it a sustainable and attractive occupation contrary to the popular believe that farming is a non-profitable activity. We will train the farmers and implement ecological and organic farming methods using multi-crop farming so that yield per acre is increased and bio-diversity is protected. The migration from village to city must be stopped and back-to-farm movement initiated.
The task is immense and we require all your blessings and support in this endeavour.
Prem P. Verma
Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum