In February 2021, S M Sehgal Foundation, under a CSR-supported project, installed 226 solar streetlights in fifteen villages of Ferozepur Jhirka Block of district Nuh, Haryana, with the consent of community representatives. The lights were installed in strategic locations of the villages such as entry and exit points of villages, school, health center, water collection sources, intersection of roads, and others.
On 23 February 2021, during a Village Development Committee (VDC) meeting in the village, community members brought up the issue of absence of streetlights and uncertainty in electricity supply, which was inconvenient at night and also attracted thieves. Many cattle, road sign boards, and hand pumps had been stolen in the last six months. Women and children were scared of going outside after dark, even to bring drinking water at night. Elderly people could not commute to each other’s homes after sunset. Therefore, the VDC suggested to the project team that lights are required on village paths, and at water sources and road intersections. Solar lights were installed in the second week of March, and their caretaking responsibilities were assigned to responsible citizens.
Saroj says, “Now the street is lit during the whole night, there has been no theft in the last two months, it has become easier to walk on the mud paths, and people venture out in the evening. Now there is no fear of mishap for women carrying drinking water from water sources even at night.”
Kamrudeen shared that, “Children have started studying and playing outdoors, and the street looks festive, elderly people stay late outdoors, into the night, and converse. With the help of these lights we are able to work one or two hours more.”
Authors: Kailash Gupta and NP Singh
(Kailash Gupta is project associate and NP Singh is program lead, Agricultural Development with S M Sehgal Foundation)