In 2006, Odanthurai village panchayat in Tamil Nadu set up an example for the state to follow by building its own 350 kw windmill to meet its energy needs. The village panchayat became the first local body in the country to do so under the remunerative enterprises scheme at an outlay of Rs 1.7 crore.
The windmill was set up at Malwadi near Udumalpet and generates about 8 lakh units annually while the power requirement for Odanthurai stands at about 4.5 lakh units. According to former panchayat president, R Shanmugam, the local body is now selling the surplus power to the state grid.
Shanmugam, who was the president from 2001 to 2006, opted for windmill under the remunerative enterprises scheme while other panchayats opted for other revenue generating ventures like building shopping complexes. While the major industries in Coimbatore struggle to get uninterrupted power supply, 40 km away from the city, this panchayat has achieved self-sufficiency.
It also has 65 solar streetlights and a 9 kw biomass gasifier to pump drinking water apart from being self sufficient in power. After reaping rich benefits due to the initiative, the panchayat which is now headed by Shanmugam's wife Lingammal, also has plans to tap solar energy to meet the long-term needs of the village.
Power being the key for various development activities, the need to tap it more from the renewable energy resources has become necessary for this panchayat.
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