Connecting The Untouched Tribes Of The Remote Northeast To The Mainstream || The Batti project

The Northeast Dialogue


Rajiv was an engineering student, and Merwyn was a techie in a software company when they met in 2005 through a common friend. Besides this friend, the only two things common between them were their love for travel and their ever-growing disillusionment with a conventional urban life. In 2011 when Merwyn Coutinho and Rajiv Rathod set out on an impromptu trip to the remote village of Gandhigram in Arunachal Pradesh, they fell in love with the lush green forests and its hilly terrains. But soon after the sunset, the village turned pitch dark. They realized that the village had no access to electricity. Households relied on firewood to keep their homes lit after dark.

So, the friends decided to “light up” the homes in the village. They launched the Batti project and distributed the ‘Batti kit‘ – a durable kit that consists of a solar panel, an LED battery, three LED tubes, three holders, three switches, 21 meters of fixed cabling, and a charge controller – to the villagers. The project expanded with time, and in 2012, the Batti project lit up hundreds of homes in the Lower Dibang Valley and about 100 homes in East Kameng’s Lada Circle. These solar panel kits brought light to many homes for the first time.

The friends have also collaborated with The Technical University of Munich to light up 50 students Residential School of Jumupani village in the Lower Dibang Valley.

We can debate all day on why the government is not doing its bit, or we can make a significant impact on the lives of the tribal living in the state and the Northeast by donating to the cause. Change is often unavoidable. Team Batti hopes that whatever new technology these communities incorporate, they would do so without a reliance on unsustainable practices. A project like Batti may also dissuade communities from migrating to cities.

This is an example of connecting the untouched tribes of the remote Northeast to the mainstream and it reflects the role of every citizen in the integration of Bharat.


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