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Karnataka Bank’s solar initiative for rural students

  • Karnataka Bank Ltd has initiated a programme to provide solar lights in the non-electrified houses of students in rural areas. MS Mahabaleshwara, Chief General Manager of the bank, told Business Line that the bank, in association with the Manipal-based non-governmental organisation Bharatiya Vikas Trust (BVT), has taken up this initiative under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. Till now, 100 houses of the students from remote rural areas of Udupi district have been provided solar lights under this programme.

  • Terming it as a ‘solar light scholarship’ for rural students, Mahabaleshwara said those students lacking electricity connection at their house have been given this facility. While the school authorities identify the beneficiaries, BVT screens them. SELCO Solar installs the solar units in the houses of such students. The total cost of a unit is ₹9,500. While the beneficiary’s family pays ₹4,500, the bank bears the remaining cost. This single unit helps illuminate two lights in a house.

  • On the reasons for part payment by beneficiary’s family, he said it instils a sort of ownership among those families. “When we consulted the families they said they are in a position to bear the amount,” he said, adding that the bank would have anyway made arrangements for the installation of solar units if the families were so weak economically. The bank, which initiated this project in November, has implemented solar units in 100 houses of students in rural areas of Udupi district. The bank has spent around ₹5 lakh for this under its CSR programme. Asked about the future plans, he said Karnataka Bank is going to commit in a greater measures with regard to providing solar lights in rural students’ households in the coming days.

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