Born to a Punjabi father and Kashmiri mother, Meera who studies at Sartartia Middle School, in Houston, Texas was working on her school’s science project when she heard of Indian government’s move UJALA YOGANA to replace 77 crore existing bulbs with energy saving light emitting diode (LED) ones. The 13 year old found that India’s unprivileged won’t be able to replace their incandescent bulbs with seven times more expensive LEDs and felt that this is something she can help with. She got down to drafting a letter and sent it to random people she could find in her family phone book, explaining the government’s objective of reducing greenhouse gases as well as taking electricity to taking electricity to poorest villages of India. She pointed out the problem in her letter that although the government was subsidizing the cost of LED bulbs, they would still be out of reach of the poorest sections of the society where the impact will be the most.
Meera’s letter was a plea for donations which she wanted to use to buy and distribute 1,600 LED bulbs on her visit to India. Her plea helped her collect around $2,079 (Rs 1.4 lakh). On receiving the first cheque of donations, Meera’s mother wrote a letter to the Union power minister Piyush Goyal expressing her daughter’s intentions to visit India and be a part of Govt’s LED awareness Campaign. The ministry took notice of her efforts and helped her buy bulbs using the funds. The bulbs were bought from Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture company of four power PSUs — NTPC, PFC, REC and Powergrid.
Under UJALA, over 14.69 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed across India which has helped in saving about 5.22 crore kWh of energy and avoided about 3,820 MW of peak demand. It has also helped in significant fall in CO2 of about 42,348 CO2 per day & electricity costs as the cumulative cost reduction of bills of consumers has been estimated to be Rs. 20.91 crore per day.
Gunjan Mishra | TOC
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