Solar power & digital classrooms combo: Zilla Parishad schools to get a facelift


Organisation:  Times of India

Almost 300 Zilla Parishad schools in Nagpur will be upgraded under the new ‘Integrated Digital Classroom’ (IDC) project for which a tender is expected to be floated this month.

Posted On:  09 May . 2018
Solar power & digital classrooms combo: Zilla Parishad schools to get a facelift
 

Almost 300 Zilla Parishad schools in Nagpur will be upgraded under the new ‘Integrated Digital Classroom’ (IDC) project for which a tender is expected to be floated this month. What makes this IDC project unique is that not only will it have digital classrooms but also an integrated solar power set up that will take care of all power needs of the school. But ZP will not have to tweak its budget for this project as it will be bankrolled by the District Mineral Fund (DMF) which is replenished by royalties from mining operations in the region.

Shriram Kadu, district mining officer, said, “We have released Rs10 crore as a one time fund for this project and the ZP will take it forward. The District Mineral Fund’s corpus is created through royalties from various mining operations in the vicinity. So, we get 30% from major minerals like coal and manganese, and 10% for minor minerals.”

Many ZP schools have benefited from digital classroom set-ups courtesy NGOs and even companies through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds, but this will be the first of a kind initiative undertaken by the ZP. The plan to add solar power to the mix and make a school self sufficient for basic requirements may well set a benchmark for others.

The ZP administration will now move ahead and give shape to the IDC project by floating a tender by the end of May. Dipendra Lokhande, district’s education officer, said, “While the money is coming from District Mineral Fund, ZP will be the implementing authority. We will be selecting between 200-300 schools and digital boards with latest software will be installed. Also the solar power set up will ensure that schools do not have to worry about keeping tabs on the electricity meter anymore.”

TOI had reported last month about many ZP schools being without power as their inability to pay up led to disconnection by the service provider. Lokhande said, “The move towards solar power is to ultimately take care of these recurring problems.”

Lokhande confirmed that the solar power set up will be an off-grid one, which makes it dependent on batteries. The problem this poses is the recurring charge of not only maintenance but also to replace batteries after four to five years. If the ZP does decide to go with off-grid set up only then the one-time payment from DMF will have to be used in an efficient manner. TOI could not get a response regarding this from ZP CEO Kadambari Balkawde.

 

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