“A SINGLE BULB CAN SPREAD A MILLION POSSIBILITIES”
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