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Five hamlets given solar lamps dream of electricity

12 Oct 2019

Effectively, Jorkar Met, Langhe Met, Pandher Met, and two Dhangar Met — hamlets on the Sinhagad fort — live in darkness in the monsoon months. They have no electricity and the solar panels installed in the huts work only for a few minutes because of the cloud cover. Each Met has five to seven houses. A maze of kaccha roads, easily a 45-minute walk, is the only way from Sinhagad fort or from Panshet road.

Suresh Maruti Jorkar, 57, said he has never seen electricity in the village. “Last Diwali, the state government gave us solar panels and lamps. But during the rainy season, these lamps work for an hour or so. We need proper power supply,” he said. Jorkar has farmland and a small house in Jorkar Met. “I make a living selling milk to eateries located near the fort. I have six buffaloes. We used to work in the light of a kerosene lamp, but the government is not selling kerosene now,” he said. Local residents said earlier, each Met had 25 to 30 houses. “Over the years, many people migrated. Now, we have just five to seven houses,” he said.

On why he stayed back in the hills, Jorkar said: “It requires a lot of money to move. I don’t have money. This is my property and I won’t leave it.”

There are no schools in these hamlets. “We send our children to the nearby villages of Khanapur, Atkarwadi and Donje. They stay with our relatives and attend school,” Nandu Jorkar said. He studied up to Class V and then gave up because of the distance.

He too is into dairy farming. “The government authorities, in a meeting some time ago, informed villagers that it is costly to supply electricity to the villages and the houses are few. They said the cost would run up to Rs 27 lakh, which is not feasible,” Nandu added.

But the hamlets desperately want power supply. “We can look after our livestock, keep big cats at bay and enjoy a bit of television,” both Jorkars said.

Amol Padher, a member of Ghera Sinhagad group gram panchayat, said they had provided 27 solar lamps and panels to 27 homes last year after learning that government officials were reluctant to supply power. “We have been making rounds of government offices seeking power supply. Last year, we succeeded in getting supply to the fort and we now have street lamps on the fort,” he added.

This election, they hope they will get electricity.

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