Thursday, October 6, 2022

State govt, Mithun Rural Development Foundation ink pact to set up mini-grids

MDRF to install mini-grids in 130 villages of Mon district

Mon district administration on behalf of the state government, and Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) signed a 20-year agreement to set up mini-grids in rural Nagaland on Thursday. The programme aims to provide reliable access to electricity for the last mile and promote the adoption of green energy sources, covering 1000 villages in the next seven years.
According to a DIPR report, Mon district administration and Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) inaugurated first of the three mini-grids at Totokchingha village.
One of the mini-grids was inaugurated by N. Thongwang Konyak, MLA while the other two at Chenwetnyu and Longkei would be inaugurated in the month of March.
Speaking at the inaugural programme, deputy commissioner (DC), Mon, Thavaseelan K informed that the first three grids were financed by Smart Power India and were “just the first of the several mini-grids” that would be installed in Mon district.
Informing that the project would make power available 24×7, DC said that NABARD was supporting livelihood interventions and set up a revolving fund which would be used to support entrepreneurs.
MRDF managing director, Vijay Bhaskar said that in the next three to four years, they would install mini-grids for all 130 villages in Mon district.
This pilot, he said would be eventually scaled across all villages in Nagaland. We are following a PPP model of partnership – public, private, and people, people being the most important part, he added.
Bhaskar also informed that Smart Power India had given them a roadmap to do this in the next seven years and assured to put all efforts to make the vision a reality.
Also speaking at the programme, general manager, NABARD, Tiakala Ao said that NABARD was sponsoring a group of beneficiaries from Totok Chingha, Longkei and Chenwetnyu where they would be exposed to bio floc and fish farming in another district in March.
This training will bring an economic boom to this region as is going to attract reverse migration enabling rural youth to set up microenterprises here, she disclosed.
Meanwhile, senior director of Smart Power India, Samit Mitra said this was a “complete village integrated development programme” that was not only about lighting loads but also about enterprises, livelihoods, productive loads and all things that contributed to the overall well-being of the community.
This is the first time we have undertaken a project with MRDF to expand our footprint of mini-grids in North East India, he added.
Mitra informed that they had funded three to four plants to initiate the programme so that there was proof of concept on the ground that other organisations could replicate and scale across Nagaland and beyond. He expressed hope that the program would meet its objective of providing livelihoods and increase earning potential of villages in Mon district.
The event was also attended by senior manager MRDF, Shyamal Bera along with director of operations MRDF, Sudeshna Mukherjee, senior manager, World Resources Institute (WRI), Namrata Ginoya and others.
It may be mentioned that the mini-grids aim to enable last-mile clean energy access, improve livelihoods, support women entrepreneurs, and increase the GDP of the state while reducing GHG emissions.
Smart Power India would play an important role in supporting the entire programme framework and value chain including design, delivery, and facilitating financial and market linkages.
Meanwhile, the WRI would be facilitating the impact measurement of the project.
SPI, a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation was established in 2015 to develop and scale sustainable models to accelerate electricity access and spur economic development amongst the rural underserved communities.
Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) is an SPV floated specifically for rural development of North East India through the platform of renewable energy-based mini-grids.
The first phase of their work is in the 132 villages of Mon district.