In a pioneering initiative to deliver last-mile access to electricity in rural areas of the north-eastern state of Nagaland, the Mon District Administration and Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) inaugurated their first of the three mini-grids at Totokchingha village on Wednesday.

The initiative was inaugurated by N. Thongwang Konyak, MLA, Mon District. In addition to this, two other solar mini-grids at Chenwetnyu and Longkei will be inaugurated in March. The two organizations signed a 20-year agreement to set up mini-grids in rural Nagaland in January this year.

The event was attended by Mon Deputy Commissioner Thavaseelan K, NABARD general manager Tiakala Ao, Samit Mitra, senior director at Smart Power India, Vijay Bhaskar, Managing Director, MRDF; Shyamal Bera, Senior Manager, MRDF along with Sudeshna Mukherjee, Director of Operations, MRDF; Namrata Ginoya, Senior Manager, World Resources Institute (WRI) and Mon District MLA N. Thongwang Konyak.

Speaking at the event, the deputy commissioner said, “The first 3 grids have been financed by Smart Power India. These are just the first of the several mini-grids that are going to be installed in the district. This project will make power available 24×7.”

He added that NABARD is supporting livelihood interventions and has set up a revolving fund, which is going to be used to support entrepreneurs. “Eventually, this fund would grow bigger to support entrepreneurs across the Mon district,” the official added.

“We are sponsoring a group of beneficiaries from TotokChingha, Longkei and Chenwetnyu who will be visiting another district in March where they will be exposed to bio floc, fish farming. This training will bring an economic boom to this region as it is going to attract reverse migration, enabling rural youth to set up microenterprises here. The future looks promising.” said Tiakala Ao, General Manager, NABARD.

Samit Mitra, Senior Director, Smart Power India, said, “This is the first time we have undertaken a project with MRDF to expand our footprint of mini-grids in North-East India. We have funded 3-4 plants to initiate the programme so that there’s proof of concept on the ground here that other organizations can replicate and scale across Nagaland and beyond. We are hopeful that this programme will meet its objective of providing livelihoods and increasing the earning potential of villages in the Mon District.”

The inaugurated mini-grids aim to enable last-mile clean energy access, improve livelihoods, support women entrepreneurs, and increase the GDP of the state while reducing GHG emissions.

Smart Power India will play an important role in supporting the entire program framework and value chain including design, delivery, and facilitating financial and market linkages. The WRI will be facilitating the impact measurement of the project.

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