The sound of music wafting through the morning air at Vedic Sanskrit Agriculture Senior Secondary School in Kheragarh is symbolic of a potent change the institution has witnessed over the last one year. And the sight of students rehearsing to a peppy Punjabi number for their annual day ceremony scheduled on Tuesday is in sharp contrast to the picture of past conditions painted by school principal Omvir Shokeen.
For till about a year ago, the administration of this 90-year-old government-aided school could not even manage to get the classroom lights and fans to work properly; leave alone using the music system or computers or even the television set.
Powerless days, however, are now a thing of the past for students here. Vedic Sanskrit Agriculture Senior Secondary School now harnesses solar energy to generate its own power. And it's the first among all the government-aided and government schools in the Capital to do so.
The landmark change was ushered in during the fag end of 2007 when four brothers— Lokesh Goswami, Bhuvnesh Goswami, Tushar Goswami and Yogi Goswami who are all currently settled in the United States—invested close to Rs 15 lakh to install solar panels on the school's terrace.
Their emotional attachment to this institution is the reason why they chose to present it with a unique gift. Their father Goswami Govardhan Lal Shastri taught Sanskrit here from 1947 to 1968. And two out of the four Goswami brothers (all of whom are alumni of Delhi College of Engineering), Lokesh and Bhuvnesh, studied here for two years from 1947 to 1948.
“We spent our formative years here and our father worked at the school for two decades. This is why we keep coming back," said Bhuvnesh, 72, who is Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Clemson University in South Carolina, US.
It was during a visit to the school in 2006 that Bhuvnesh noticed the gravity of the power problem faced by the institution.
“The school's electricity supply generally drops to 150 volts against the 220 volts that is normally required for the lights, fans and electrical appliances to function properly. I noticed the computer classes were not taking place because the fluctuating power made it impossible for them to use the computers. That's when I decided to address the problem and all my brothers were roped in as well,” he added.
A four kilowatt solar photovoltaic electric power system was installed after Tushar, 53, assessed the school's power needs. "As per assessment the consumption was about six kilowatt. We decided to install four kilowatt power system to start with. However, over the last one year we've seen that this has managed to meet the entire need of the school," said Tushar, who is into solar consulting in Florida.
The power system, which has made the institution self-dependent and will also allow it to generate revenue by feeding the excess electricity back into the power grid, will be formally inaugurated by on the school's annual day on Tuesday by classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj.