‘Solar Gandhi’ felicitated at IIT-B on completing 1,000 days of Energy Swaraj Yatra
On Tuesday, at an event at IIT-Bombay called ‘1,000 Days, 1,000 Hopes’, Solanki was felicitated by the institute for hitting the 1,000-day milestone of the Energy Swaraj Yatra, which is slated to end in 2030. A professor at the department of energy science and engineering at IIT-B, he has been granted leave by the institute for 11 years for the vital work that he is doing
MUMBAI: A thousand days of travelling more than 43,000 km across 20 states to promote solar energy and give 750 talks on energy conservation. That, in a nutshell, has been the life of Professor Chetan Singh Solanki—also known as the Solar Man of India or Solar Gandhi—since November 2020 when he initiated the Energy Swaraj Yatra.
On Tuesday, at an event at IIT-Bombay called ‘1,000 Days, 1,000 Hopes’, Solanki was felicitated by the institute for hitting the 1,000-day milestone of the Energy Swaraj Yatra, which is slated to end in 2030. A professor at the department of energy science and engineering at IIT-B, he has been granted leave by the institute for 11 years for the vital work that he is doing.
“Amid the growing challenges of climate change and rising global temperatures, the world has to move towards adopting 100 percent renewable energy to limit the average increase in global temperature by two degrees Celsius,” said Solanki at the event. “As this journey celebrates the completion of its 1000th day, I am filled with a mix of gratitude, determination, and a sense of urgency.”
The Energy Swaraj Yatra has touched the lives of more than 2.50 lakh Indians. “This expedition spreads awareness about climate change in the masses, urging them to take part in climate corrective measures,” said Solanki. “Throughout this journey, I have encountered barren fields amidst scorching heat and people caught in torrential downpours. I have witnessed the pristine waters of Yamunotri turning into chemical foam upon reaching Delhi. Concrete highways have torn through forests, while factory smoke has obscured the skies. The Energy Swaraj Yatra isn’t solely a personal expedition; it’s a rallying cry and an appeal to everyone to embrace the transformative potential of solar energy.”
The energy activist also launched a campaign on the occasion called ‘This election, think of a climate correction’. “We will encourage all those young people who can stand as independent candidates in elections and who can fight for climate change,” he said.
Solanki embarked on his countrywide journey inside a solar-powered bus replete with amenities such as an air-conditioned bedroom, office space, a kitchen with an induction cooker, and a refrigerator, all powered by solar panels adorning the roof. “Beyond its role as mere transportation, this innovative mobile abode symbolises our aspirations for a forthcoming world driven by sustainable energy sources,” he said.
Scientist Anil Kakodkar, who spoke at the event, lauded Solanki’s journey and remarked that he had achieved a very big milestone. “While there are miles to go, it is important to go on in our mission for the betterment of our society,” he said.
Kakodkar struck a sombre note while talking about the importance of clean energy. “The phenomenon of global warming is not going to wait so we must change ourselves,” he said. “After some time, there will be a point where we are in a race between development and our own existence.”