Saraswati Nayak with the Solar Lantern
Despite being occupied with multiple tasks due to her business, Saraswati Nayak never loses the smile on her face. Throughout our conversation which lasted almost half an hour, she was cheerful and very relaxed as if she was talking to a close acquaintance. She lost her husband many years ago and raised her daughter all alone. She trades and supplies eggs in her village M.Rampur of Kalahandi district in Odisha to make a living. She purchases eggs from Bolangir, a nearby town and supplies it to government schools for the Mid Day Meal program and to Anganwadi centers. Also, she is an Assistant Sarpanch of M.Rampur. She purchased a solar lantern with the help of a loan from Milaap almost a year ago to use it during the blackouts. Furthermore, the lantern plays an indispensable role during the day by providing light to one of the rooms which has no window.
Prior to purchasing the solar lantern, Saraswati used inverter light or a kerosene lamp during the blackouts. Both the inverter light as well as the kerosene lamp dented her savings. Kerosene, besides being a costly fuel, releases lethal fumes while burning in the lamp. Continuous inhalation of these fumes leads to fatal lung diseases. The inverter light, besides increasing her monthly electricity bills, had a very short life span and needed frequent maintenance. Her monthly electricity bill inflated from Rs.150 to Rs. 250 when she used the inverter light. Furthermore, when there was an electrical maintenance work in her village few days ago, there was no power supply for 2 days straight. The inverter light wouldn't have been of any use since it needs electricity to recharge in that situation. However, the solar lantern was of great help during those 2 days. It was just 2 of those numerous days the solar lantern serves them with light.