Maharashtra to start pilot solar ashram schools soon

The Maharashtra government will undertake pilot projects for the development of solar ashram schools coming under the jurisdiction of tribal development department under special central assistance in Thane, Nashik, Amravati and Nagpur. These projects will cost Rs 5 crore and the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency will be the nodal agency.

The tribal development department desk officer Prakash Waje in a notification issued on Friday said the objective is to ensure the assured and permanent source of power supply and thereby reduce an outgo for electricity bills. The project officer in their respective jurisdiction will select the government run ashram schools in consultation with MEDA and MahaVitaran. The selection criteria include Eklavya schools, central kitchen, number of students and the electricity bill.

A tribal development department officer told Free Press Journal, “Of the Rs 5 crore, Rs 1.25 crore each will be disbursed to additional tribal commissioners of Thane, Nashik, Amravati and Nagpur for the development of a pilot project in their jurisdictions. The solar power supply will be helpful for students to get an uninterrupted power supply as they will not have to face frequent power cuts or load shedding. These schools can save money towards monthly electricity bill payment due to the net metering system. The solar power operated ashram schools will also help in the promotion of non-renewable energy sources.”

He said the project developer will be selected through the tendering process and the developer, who gets the contract, will decide the solar power project capacity in consultation with MEDA and MahaVitaran.

He said a seven-member committee headed by the tribal development commissioner will supervise and evaluate the project implementation.The committee will meet quarterly to review the progress and address the problems in the implementation and functioning of solar power-based ashram schools.

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