With its ample sunshine, India could easily add power generation capacity by using more solar energy and less fossil fuels.
Among the fresh bright minds that Rajiv Gandhi brought into government in the first flush of his landslide victory was PS Deodhar, who was appointed technology advisor to the prime minister and the chairman of the Electronics Commission of the government. Mr Deodhar was among those techies who worked at making panchayati raj a reality by harnessing technology for growth. In the early 1980s, Mr Deodhar was involved in building low-cost computers and making them available to people. He says, “I got Rajiv the ZX80 computer kit and later ZX81 and Spectrum with 128K RAM for hands-on computing.” Later, he made available an IBM PC XT clone at Rs10,000 via ET&T Corp, which was at half the prevailing price.
Now, at the age of 80, he believes that if solar energy were utilised in rural areas, technology could become a binding tool for the entire country by reaching areas that have no stable power supply. With this in mind, Mr Deodhar has made pioneering efforts in solar-powered gadgets through MITRAMAX Energy Private Limited.
He says, “Do you know that 350 million Indians (around 80 million homes) do not get electricity from the power grid at all? Most homes in India get bad quality of power.
Voltage swings from 150V to 270V causing bulbs to fuse, gadget failures and motors burning out.”
Extending the grid power to these homes is expensive and our government has subsidy schemes for companies to sell solar products at a reasonable price. This entire process is corrupt; agencies swallow the subsidy and sell sub-standard solar lights which work for just a few days. Worse, most of these are sold at Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 or more, to get higher percentage subsidy.
Solar power, Mr Deodhar says, is an ideal solution for them. With this in mind, he set up MITRAMAX Energy as an Indo-German joint venture company in 2009 which has created a hi-tech long-life product that is simple to use and maintenance-free. “I realised that one can give a better product much cheaper without even bothering about the government subsidy,” says Mr Deodhar. His focus is to enable the family to live safely and for children to study or play after dark and add a few more productive hours to their life.
SUNGRACE 25 has a 25Wp PV solar panel with a current controller that harvests peak power, the SOLARPOT that stores 168WH of energy and two 5W LED lights. One is a uniquely designed portable 5W LED light that can be used at home and while venturing outdoors with its built-in battery. The other is a bright 5W pendent bulb, USB port and a multi-plug cellular phone charger cable.
How is any of this relevant to this particular section of the magazine, which looks at issues beyond money? Well, because Mr Deodhar gives away hundreds of these products to NGOs who, in turn, give them to people in need. Interestingly, those who use these solar power gadgets have actually managed to save up to Rs200 a month on kerosene. He is also working with a professor of sociology to study the impact of solar power on the lives of people.
For those who can afford solar power, Mr Deodhar has started an advisory service at MITRAMAX Energy to tell them what kind of plant they should ideally purchase for their specific needs based on a complex energy calculation.
Mr Deodhar now wants to give each one of us the opportunity to participate in empowering rural people through solar energy. While solar lamp sells at Rs6,650 (list price), the company is willing to offer it at Rs5,000 to donors (for an order of 50 pieces) or at Rs5,300 for those who wish to make individual donations.
MITRAMAX is a commercial organisation with a social purpose, so its big challenge is to spread the word about the product without advertising, to keep the cost low. This requires public participation and support. You can help make this happen through donations or by telling people about these solar lamps.
Mitramax Energy Pvt Ltd
Deodhar Centre, 424, Marol Maroshi Road,
Andheri East, Mumbai 400059
Tel: +91-22-28290059, 28292055
E-mail : [email protected]
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Finding Mallya prima-facie guilty of fraud and criminal breach of trust, The Bulandshahr Magistrate Court summoned the Kingfisher Airlines' chief along with the company vice chairman Roopi Arya
A Court in Bulandshahr has summoned Vijay Mallya, chairman-cum-managing director of now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. A pilot working for the carrier filed a petition in the court alleging that Kingfisher Airlines was withholding his payment dues.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Umakant Jindal , after finding Mallya prima-facie guilty of fraud and criminal breach of trust under section 420 and 406 of IPC, has summoned him along with company vice chairman Roopi Arya.
The court's order came in the wake of a complaint filed in court by a co-pilot of the airline contending that the accused were not paying his dues amounting to over Rs28 lakh notwithstanding a written assurance by Arya.
Akash Sharma, the complainant, asserted that he had joined Deccan Aviation Company as a co-pilot in 2006 which was later taken over by Kingfisher that later abandoned its operation in 2012.
Despite assurances by Arya, Rs28.50 lakh were not paid to him, he alleged in his petition.
The court has also directed Bengaluru's Superintendent of Police to ensure attendance of the accused in the Court on 6th October.