WEST CHAMPARAN, BIHAR
BY NEYAZ FAROOQUEE
After graduating in geography from Delhi University, Ratnesh Yadav returned to Bihar in 2003 with a passion to do something for his home state. He experimented with many ideas like electricity generation from jatropha plants, windmills and solar energy, but with little success. Then in 2007, with help from a US-returned engineer friend, he set up a biomass gasification plant in Dhanha village in West Champaran district where rice is grown in abundance. Electricity had eluded the region even after the National Rural Electrification Mission (NREM) had covered most of the district. “Due to various reasons, the NREM did not cover 72 villages of West Champaran. We invested Rs 15 lakh from our savings to set up the first plant there,” says Yadav. Their company named Husk Power Systems charges Rs 100 for 30 watt per month. “But customers are strictly not allowed to use incandescent bulbs,” he adds. Now there are 70 plants operating in 300 villages across three districts and they plan to expand it to 2,014 plants by 2014. As the villagers now have regular electricity supply until midnight, their children have the option of studying late into the night. Yadav also sponsors the education of 250 children.
YADAV MAY BE REACHED AT 0612-2283333