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22 April, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Solar power changes lives of Chandpur char people

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Solar power changes lives of Chandpur char people

The use of solar power is becoming popular among the poor in remote rural and char areas of Chandipur district. It is changing the lives of thousands of people living there.
 There are about 60,000 people living in char areas under Haimchar, Chandpur Sadar and Matlab North upazilas.
 These areas, situated next to the Meghna, that once used to plunge into darkness after sunset in the absence of electricity. But solar panels have now given them ‘light’ at night.
 Solar power has enabled locals to watch TV, charge mobile sets, use re-chargeable lanterns and carry out daily dealings in bazaars till late hours. Moreover, school and college students can study till late in the evening, which earlier could only be done in the flickering light of eye-straining kerosene lamps.
 Anyone visiting the char areas at night will at once see a touch of modernity—houses, shops and bazaars lit up at night with solar power. It was learnt that some NGOs have stepped forward to reach electricity to people’s homes in rural areas with solar power sets.
 BRAC, Shokti Foundation, Rahim Afroze, Grameen Shokti, Ready IDF Foundation and some other NGOs have been selling solar panels at an affordable price to people residing in chars in Matlab North upazila.
 Jashimuddin Gazi and Minnat Bepary, both residents of Kashim village of Matlab North, told this correspondent that people’s response to solar panels was poor in the past, but now they are reaping the full benefits of such panels.
 Residents of Char Umed, Borochar, Char Webster, Bahadurpur Char, Shostho Khondo Borochar, Char Zinks and some other adjacent areas under Matlab North have been making full use of solar panels provided by Rahim Afroze.
Md Abdus Sattar, manager of the Rahim Afroze Company, told this correspondent that they sell solar panels at an affordable price.
 Residents of Raj Rajeswar, Char Loggimara and adjacent areas in Chandpur Sadar and Char Eashanbala, along with those living in Majhirbazar, Banglabazar, Miarbazar, Gazipurchar and Haimchar Union’s char areas under Haimchar upazilas beside the Meghna, have been using solar panels.
Local MP Dipu Moni also distributed solar panels among the char people and institutions through various development projects.
 Traders in Alghi Bazar, a growing and thriving market in Haimchar upazila Sadar, Nayergaon North Bazar, a remote bazaar in Matlab North upazila, and the gypsy people in Chandpur Sadar are also using solar panels, thus getting uninterrupted power supply at night.
 Contacted, some gypsy young men such as Raju, 20, Ramzan, 25, Faijus Sheikh, 23, who collect and sell ash, and a housewife spoke to this correspondent about their lives with solar plants.
 They are part of 17 gypsy families living in shanties on the Dakatia river bank and Chandpur railway tracks. They said their lives have become relatively easier because of the solar panels. They can easily recharge their mobile sets, torch lights and operate mini TV sets with solar power.
 Solar plants of 30-watt and 60-watt capacities have dramatically changed the lifestyle of the char people, river-bank settlers, traders in remote hats and bazaars, and even gypsy people.
 Contacted, Suman Miaji, a small trader, and Md Kowsar Miaji, Mahbubul Bashar and Khorshed Alam, some of the local elites in Haimchar upazila Sadar, told this correspondent that solar panels are used when Palli Bidyut resorted to load-shedding. So, people are less troubled by power cuts these days.  “There is no darkness anywhere in the bazaar areas. That’s why, thefts, burglaries and other crimes at night have decreased immensely,” one of them said.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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