Solar power to light up village

Social workers from Salt Lake have installed the power panels for villagers at Sandeshkhali

Members of the club pose before the solar panels in Sandeshkhali

Social workers from Salt Lake have installed solar power panels for villagers at Sandeshkhali in Basirhat subdivision

The initiative was taken by 50 clubs of Inner Wheel, District 329, led by Inner Wheel Club of Salt Lake Down Town. The project is called Alokshikha and will produce 1.3KWP energy at Joygopalpur Youth Development Centre at Sandeshkhali.  The power will illuminate this centre, along with a destitute home and a water testing laboratory nearby.

“This is the first time we are contributing to such a cause,” said district chairman Anita Ghosh, inaugurating the project. “It will help women of the area earn their livelihood and support their families. The solar energy will also reduce 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission a year, which is equivalent to planting 23 trees.” 

Dinabandhu Das, secretary of the youth centre where the panels got installed, said they would provide uninterrupted power to four industrial level sewing machines and multiple lights and indirectly help about 160  families.

Rani Barui would be one of the beneficiaries. A mother of three, Barui is a seamstress who earns a living by stitching school uniforms and ladieswear at the centre. “Previously prolonged power cuts delayed our work as we use machines that run on electricity. Now we can work uninterrupted,” she said.

Prabir Bose, who is in charge of the Amra Korbo Jai home for destitute boys, was grateful too. “Earlier we had to carry water over long distances and students could not study in the evening due to power cuts,” he said.

Bacteriologist Swapan Mondal travels 34km up and down daily between Canning and Sandeshkhali to the water testing laboratory there. “In a week of five working days, not even two days can we work peacefully because of power cuts. If we stay back after hours for the supply to resume, we miss our ride home,” he said. “The solar panels are great news.”

Maya Mitra, president, Inner Wheel Club of Salt Lake Down Town, felt their move would encourage others to follow in their footsteps. “This project has brought smiles to the faces of so many,” added secretary Esha Goswami.

Bharati Kanjilal

l“I didn’t hear the whistle blow, else I’d have come first!” said a runner, panting after the men’s 100m race. “I did come first but from behind,” said another.

CK-CL Block had held their sports day this winter when Covid-19 was on the wane amidst mirth and laughter.

First in the men’s race came Abhishek Paul, a young businessman. “I keep in shape by playing table tennis and badminton. Since this race was for men of all ages, the senior ones, including my father, stood ahead of the youngsters,” he said.

Women had musical chairs, pot-breaking and a running race of their own. Sixty-year-old Sutapa Bhattachyya won one in her category. “I go for evening walks but ran today to assess how fit I was,” she said proudly.

Of the races the kids had, it was the “sum race” that ended with telling results. Primary school students were to run, multiply two three-digit numbers and run some more with the answer sheet in their hands. Senior school students had to solve a Bodmas problem for their sum race.

“Everyone ran to the finish line but I was sad to see that only two runners in both category could solve the sums correctly. We couldn’t even announce a third prize,” said Shankha Maiti, a volunteer who was checking the answers. “Interest in mathematics in dwindling but this could also be the result of a year of online classes.”

The junior’s sum race was aced by Lavanya Kakarania and Jhanvi Baid. In the senior section, the winners were Shivam Mishra and Hridita Banerjee. “Mental and physical activity are both important so I like math as well as running. I come to the park daily for an hour of football and cricket,” said Shivam, a Class X student. “In fact, my elder brother Deepak played cricket today and hit a huge six!”

The gentlemen’s game was played by, well, gentlemen. “I love playing cricket, even if I get a chance to play it once a year,” said Tapash Sen, who won man of the match for taking two tough catches.

“This sports day was a breath of fresh air for residents who have been locked up for months. We had asked those above 80 years to give the event a miss but at least the others got to meet,” said Shanti Ranjan Paul, secretary of Bidhannagar CK-CL Block Residents’ Association.