Uttar Pradesh: Tapping solar power to spin success | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Uttar Pradesh: Tapping solar power to spin success

Displaying smart charkhas at the two-day UP Investors’ Summit, the officials of Bharatiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan — a society promoted by the Bharatiya Micro-Credit to promote khadi — said the switchover would be historic.

lucknow Updated: Feb 24, 2018 12:54 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,UP investors summit,Solar power
Put on display at UP Investors’ Summit, solar-powered smart charkhas are set to replace the traditional ones.(HT Photo)

Gone are the days when hand-propelled ‘charkhas’ (spinning wheels) used to be the only source of income for rural folks engaged in spinning yarn.

Thanks to Bharatiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan (BHKGS), smart and solar-powered charkhas are set to replace the traditional ones.

Displaying smart charkhas at the two-day UP Investors’ Summit, the officials of BHKGS — a society promoted by the Bharatiya Micro-Credit (BMC) to promote khadi — said the switchover would be historic.

“It will not only give a boost to khadi industry but will also be a major source of income for rural people,” they said.

“Earlier, when we heard about charkha, picture of a poor man spinning at snail’s pace used to come to our mind. The picture is set to change now. The new age charkhas will bring in a revolutionary change,” said chief executive officer (CEO), BHKGS, Abhishek Pathak.

The story of smart charkhas began about a year ago when BHKGS got a small solar-powered charkha from Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

“This solar charkha was pretty small with eight spindles. Since it was small, the output was also low. In eight hours, one could spin just 800 gram of yarn,” said Pathak.

“We started working on a bigger machine in June 2016 and we succeeded in the next couple of months. We created efficient solar charkhas with 10, 12, 16, 24 and 32 spindles. The 32-spindle charkha can produce 5 kg yarn in eight hours which is good enough,” he said.

Khanwan, a small village in Bihar which is also the birthplace of the first chief minister of Bihar Krishna Singh, was the first to witness the launch of solar charkha as a pilot project.

“The field trials of solar charkhas in Bihar were encouraging. BHKGS has trained more than 1,500 women in Khanwan alone as ‘kattin’ (spinner) and ‘bunkar’ (weaver). Over a thousand women are undergoing training at eight BHKGS centres and solar charkhas have already been installed at the houses of over 1,200 artisans,” Pathak said.

“Training-cum-production centres at Khanwan are spread over an area of 20,000 sq ft with sprawling playground, garden, open space and five sheds,” he added.

Pathak said the same project would be carried out in villages of Uttar Pradesh. He said the cost of 12-spindle charkha is around Rs 44,000. “The government is giving 35 per cent subsidy on loans making its purchase easier,” he added.

“We are in talks with UP government over the implementation of projects in the rural areas of Lucknow and adjoining districts,” Pathak said.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 12:54 IST