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SEWA, UN to set energy park in Gujarat

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

Country's first energy park, based on reliable and affordable energy resources like solar and biogas, will formally be inaugurated by Elaben Bhatt, founder, SEWA, at Manipur village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
Promoted by Bank, Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the energy park aims at becoming a permanent exhibition centre of energy products and services. Besides, it aims to identify suitable technology for and members.
IN 2006, created a new portfolio called Urja Finance or Project Urja. The Project Urja has brought together three vital elements "" the technological partner SELCO, which designs and improvises solar and biogas-run cooking and lighting devices, the people who use these devices to improve their living standards, and and SEWA Bank, which provide financial support to these people for realising their dreams. This was given further impetus by Lemelson Foundation.
Jayshree Vyas, SEWA managing director, said, "The SEWA group has come up with effective programmes to facilitate the needs of poor women of various segments like street vendors, home-based workers and house maids. A reliable energy service is one such need that has long been felt for improving the quality of life of the poor women but has not been addressed in a sustainable manner."
Renana Jhabvala, chairperson, said, "Numerous street vendors who are SEWA bank clients spend between Rs 13 and Rs 15 a day on kerosene and other types of fuel for lighting needs. For them, the solution is solar lighting as it does not cost more than Rs 10-12 a day."
She said in the last six months, SEWA Bank had created channels to encourage the addition of more energy services related technologies, which would directly benefit the poor women. Besides, more than 300 women had been trained in cooking and solar technologies during the same period.
"The next six months would see value additions under solar and cooking technologies like powering small motors, and community cooking. The plan is also to build up bases for technologies like biogas and dryers," she added.

First Published: Fri, February 23 2007. 00:00 IST