BC Jain, the first speaker said, that small power plants should be installed in villages as they have smaller needs. "The energy can be used for cooking and generating electricity. Biomass, charcoal and locally available waste could be used to generate power at Rs 4 per unit," he said.
According to Jain, many villagers had tried this experiment and many such plants have been funded by non-resident Indians based in the United States. He suggested that that by setting up two to five MW plants power cuts will go down. "Rs 10 lakh is needed to set up a 1 MW plant."
Gyanesh Pandey of Husk Power Systems said that 1,25,000 villages in India were without power. For the success of power projects to enhance rural energy it was imperative that locals run the plants.
"We produce 132 megatons of paddy which gives 32 megatons of husk. This can produce 20,000,000 MW of power. And this is just one agri residue," he said. According to Pandey, plants should not be connected to the grid.
Government officials said that they were ready to provide a subsidy and banks were ready to lend money to villagers. All an NRI entrepreneur needs to do is put in 10 per cent of the needed finance. With this NRIs can not only fulfill their social responsibility but also make a reasonable profit.
And Pandey is a leading example. He has lit up 375 villages in Bihar.
Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com