Kultali:It is good news for around 4516 households in the saline Sundarbans in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district as they are set to enjoy the brighter evening from now onwards.
Directorate of Forest, South 24 Pargana, has Joined hands with the Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage (KSCH) and TCG foundation to install 25 solar street lights across 5 villages in Kultali range.
These solar lights would also save the lives of villagers from man wild conflict.
The project is a public-private partnership. The Directorate of Forest has given the mandate to KSCH, a social enterprise.
The solar street lights will be installed by Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage whereas the TCG foundation has come forward with the requisite funds.
Around 4,136 families of Bhubaneshwari, Debipur, Modhho Gurguria, Purba Gurguria and Deulbari, Chituri Forest in Kultali range in the Sundarbans are beneficiaries of the proposed street lights.
” They are the victims of frequent snake bites as these villages are adjacent to the core area of the Sundarbans, ” said an official of the TCG Foundation.
” The villagers stumble upon poisonous snakes in darkness leading to death or serious injury regularly. Kultali range falls under the jurisdiction of the Directorate Forest, South 24 Parganas division, Govt. of West Bengal. The nearby hospital is 36 km away, he added.
“As we all know that the Sundarbans are biosphere lands and people living here are exposed to nature. Human and wild conflict is one of the major concerns of the forest department in the Sundarbans. Roads are developed with bricks and electricity has been a rarity here. Snake bite is a common problem in Sundarbans area. Common karaits and Cobras are the prime damages for the local people.”
” The Mortality rate (65 percent) is very high for snake bite cases. Even Tigers strayed out of the core areas twice in the last five years. So Solar lights are the only solution of this concern here”, said Milan Mandal of DFO, 24 Parganas, South Division.
“To cover the major parts of the villages we installed 25 solar street lights. By doing this project we also promoted the renewable green energy and reduce carbon footprint. These poles will generate 182.5 kilowatt renewable electricity every year. Street lights will help to distract the tigers as well. I really thank KSCH & TCG Foundation for his project”, said Milan Mandal.
“We at Kolkata Society For Cultural Heritage has been working in the Sundarbans for the last 15 years in different projects ranging from angrove plantation, women empowerment, vocational skill development and livelihood development with the forest department. Main occupations of the villagers are fishing, honey collection from forest, rikshaw and van pulling with average family income of Rs 8000 to Rs 6000 in a month. This solar lighting will provide them lighting for an uninterrupted period throughout the night and will benefit a great deal. The villagers even rarely get 4 hours of electricity uninterruptedly. Forest Department has identified the specific locations where we installed the Poles. Forest department also has formed communities among villagers to monitor the poles and maintain the solar panels. KSCH will provide capacity building training shortly”, said Sourav Mukherjee, Founder Director, Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage.
“The project has been implemented through TCG Foundation which is a Trust registered with the Ministry Of Corporate Affairs as an Implementing Agency of CSR Projects. The project promotes both environmental sustainability and rural development. We are happy that the installation of 25 sets of Solar Street Lamps in a remote area adjacent to the Sunderbans will directly benefit at least 4000 families covering 5 Gram Panchayats. The Primary Contributor for this CSR project was Bengal Intelligent Parks Pvt Ltd, a Company under The Chatterjee Group’s Real Estate vertical”, said Sreoshi Moitra, Head of CSR, TCG Foundation.
Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage, (KSCH) has recently been honoured with the United Nation’s ECOSOC consultative status which is a rare feat for NGOs across the world. The project follows the UNSDGs like, SDG 7: affordable and clean energy, SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production, SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 15: Life on land and SDG 17: partnerships for the goal.