“A SIN­GLE BULB CAN SPREAD A MIL­LION POS­SI­BIL­I­TIES”

India Today - - GOOD NEWS - PARAS LOOMBA, 31 Founder, Global Hi­malayan Ex­pe­di­tion (GHE), —As told to Sukant Deepak

Paras Loomba and his core team comprising en­ergy ac­cess leader Jaideep Bansal, 28; home­s­tays leader Ga­gan­preet Singh, 30; project man­ager Tser­ing Dor­jey, 35; and pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor Stanzin, 26, con­duct lead­er­ship ex­pe­di­tions to pro­vide en­ergy ac­cess to re­mote Hi­malayan com­mu­ni­ties. So far, they have man­aged to elec­trify 25 vil­lages in the area.

When I first landed in Ladakh in 2013, I knew no one. All I had was a dream to do some­thing in the Hi­malayas. Ini­tially, Ven. (Ven­er­a­ble) San­gah­sena, founder of the Ma­ha­bodhi Med­i­ta­tion Cen­tre near Leh gave me per­mis­sion to set up a dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tion base for his school. But my fo­cus soon shifted to pro­vid­ing re­mote, off-the-grid vil­lages ac­cess to en­ergy. We started with sur­vey­ing such vil­lages and set­ting up so­lar-pow­ered mi­cro grids there. Most of these vil­lages are hard to reach, lo­cated at a trek dis­tance of about five to seven days from the near­est mo­torable road. The re­gion also gets cut off from the out­side world for al­most six months be­cause of heavy snow­fall.

To iden­tify the right vil­lages and sur­vey them meant trav­el­ling to these ar­eas. It was ex­haust­ing, phys­i­cally as well as men­tally. It was also im­per­a­tive to main­tain and monitor these re­mote grid in­fra­struc­tures. To over­come these dif­fi­cul­ties, our team put together a lo­cal team of elec­tri­cians, sur­vey­ors and pro­gramme man­agers. This not only gen­er­ated lo­cal em­ploy­ment but also in­fused in the peo­ple a sense of a ‘mis­sion’ to serve their com­mu­nity. We li­aise with lo­cal vil­lage coun­cil­lors who fa­cil­i­tate vil­lage mo­bil­i­sa­tion as it is very im­por­tant that com­mu­ni­ties be ac­quainted with how they can suitably ben­e­fit from tech­nol­ogy.

After two or three vil­lages in Ladakh got elec­tri­fied, word of our ini­tia­tive spread. We have now elec­tri­fied 25 vil­lages in the Leh and Kargil ar­eas with the sup­port of the Ladakh Au­tonomous Hill De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil. We have also set up so­lar mi­cro grids in re­mote vil­lages which have no cel­lu­lar connectivity. Our or­gan­i­sa­tion, Global Hi­malayan Ex­pe­di­tion, has also de­signed qual­ity cus­tom LED lights and ap­pli­ances for these vil­lages to help them even in win­ters and harsh cli­mates.”

“All un­rea­son­able dreams are ac­com­plished with courage and an un­flinch­ing com­mit­ment to­wards your pas­sion.”

PARAS LOOMBA (IN BLUE JACKET) WITH VIL­LAGERS IN LADAKH

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