Naktipada is a small village in the outskirts of Bhawanipatna town. One can easily reach the village by a motor vehicle. The link road from the town to the village is in very good condition. It took me 3 hours to reach Bhawanipatna town by bus from Balangir. Here I was to meet the Laxmi Kanta self-help group led by a strong lady named Punirani. The lady sitting second from left in the picture is Punirani. She lives with her husband and 2 children who go to school. Her husband runs a fast food shop and she works as a tailor that enables both of them to earn sufficient enough to lead a healthy life. While they have electricity connection at their home but frequent power cuts are very common. In addition at their fast food shop, they have no electricity and had to use alternative light source in the evening when most of the sales take place. With the help of the Milaap energy loan, all women of this SHG brought a solar lantern to their home which they can use at their home and shop depending upon convenience. The members I interacted with had a very positive experience with the solar lanterns. Punirani jokingly said that before solar lantern it was difficult to track customers sometimes at her fast food shop if they have paid their bills after eating or just left unnoticingly. She also said that it would be great if they could get more such products which use clean energy source and are convenient to use at their household. I left the meeting with the feeling that we have a huge scope of development and consumption expansion in rural India as people crave for more after they become witness to some of the things which we collectively call development.
Laxmi Kanta self-help group