Kalimpong, Aug. 24: Meet 26-year-old Bharat Dhakal, an achiever in his own right, who has brought light to the remote village of Lingsey, about 60 km from here. Lingsey does not even have proper road links with the rest of the world, but thanks to Dhakal, 13 houses in the village now have electricity. Dhakal has managed to set up a mini hydel power plant to generate electricity by tapping water from a nearby stream.
Explaining how the project started, Dhakal said: “I always had an interest in the technical field and used to make small things like radios.” And like the rest of the villagers, Dhakal, too, dreamt of having electricity in his house.
“Later, in 1999, when I chanced to read an article in The Telegraph about a mini hydel power project somewhere in Kashmir, I too wanted to try something like that in my village,” Dhakal said.
“After that I did a lot of research and talked to people who were experts in this field. I learnt a lot from them,” said Dhakal, who has studied only up to Class X.
Dhakal, afterwards, formed a committee — compromising 13 families — in his village for the project. Finally, in October 2004, Dhakal’s hard work bore fruit as the Dhoksing Khola Mini Hydel Project started functioning. The cost of the project — about Rs 80,000 — was shared by the 13 households.
Dhakal is eager to explain how the power plant works. “Water is first brought from Dhoksing khola (river), which runs near the village. The water is then collected in a 4ft x 4ft tank built at a height of 60ft. A force pipe has been kept there which in turn runs the turbine,” he said.
This is where the most important component of the plant, the 2.5 kv dynamo, takes over. Connected to the turbine, it generates electricity and supplies it to the 13 houses through parallel lines. The dynamo — specially ordered from Siliguri — is also equipped to convert direct current into alternate current.
“But there is a minor flaw in this project,” Dhakal said. “The voltage becomes low when the flow of water is weak.”
Dhakal now dreams of providing electricity to 300 houses in his village, but for that he needs a transformer. He has got in touch with the DGHC rural electricity department over the matter.