Those signature kerosene and petromax lamps at hawker shops have decorated our streets during its busy evenings for years now. They are a hawker’s constant companion and a basic necessity for their shops. But did you know that a hawker has to spend around 250-300 rupees every month for these lights? Parting with this big chunk of money from the handful that he earns becomes quite a burden. Accolades to Urja Unlimited, who understood this difficulty faced by the hawkers and came up with a fine solution – replacing the fuel lamps with solar power.
Urja Unlimited is an organization which was born with a novel idea of providing ‘energy for all’ through renewable energy. Urja aims to serve every village, town and city in India with efficient energy solutions. With its vision in mind, Urja initiated the project to support street hawkers and aspires to reach a million hawkers with their lanterns.
The main aim of the project is to completely eliminate the recurring fuel expenditure on the hawkers. Moreover, as we all know, there are environmental benefits attached to giving up the use exhaustible fuels. Also, the hawker gets to work in a fume free environment.
Over 150 hawkers in Faridabad enjoy the solar power
The first step towards energy efficiency was Urja Unlimited’s solar lantern project in Faridabad. Over 150 hawkers have opted for Urja’s lanterns which have given them a breather with their expenses. The brighter solar lamps have enlivened their surroundings, gotten rid of the risk of health hazards and brightened the faces of the hawkers.
Savitri Pandey, a hawker in Faridabad who has switched to Urja’s lantern, mentioned that she is now able to devote the cost savings on giving up the kerosene lamps to her children’s tuition needs. Saina Bano says that “Ab har mahina mittiktel (kerosene oil) chori se kharidane kay jhanjhat khatam.” Ashok, a hawker suffering from Tuberculosis, said that he is now spending less on his medical expenses.
Replicating the success and spreading awareness across the country is a big task in the hands of Urja Unlimited now. The constraint is that the equipment is slightly priced on the higher side, around 2600 to 3600 rupees. Logically, the amount is equivalent to what the hawkers would spend over a year for their fuel costs and they need not spend any more on their fuels after this initial investment. Also, the lanterns can easily serve the users for almost 5 to 7 years. Urja intends to bring down the cost that could come on the hawkers by entering into partnerships with micro finance institutions, corporates and other philanthropic organizations.
How can you help this initiative?
With more people like you supporting the cause, we are sure that we can make some difference to the lives of more street hawkers. Here are a few things that you can do:
- Introduce Urja Unlimited to your company and encourage a corporate social responsibility initiative
- Contact Urja Unlimited to find out more about the initiative and help them serve better
- Help spread awareness about the use of renewable energy
You can know more about the organization at www.urjaunlimited.in. Urja and The Better India shall assist you in sharing your contributions.