By Dr. Celia Shahnaz
IEEE SIGHT, IEEE PES, IEEE WIE of IEEE Student branch Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering (TKMCE) and EEE Department of TKMC joined hands with Kerala State Electricity Board, Ayur subdivision to provide electricity for 28 homes at Edamulackal Panchayat, Kollam, Kerala on 16th February, 2017. This was done as a part of “Sampoorna Vyidhutha Valkarna Yetnam”(Complete Electrification Project), an initiative undertaken by the Kerala Government.
The locality mainly consists of daily wage workers who could not afford the electricity costs; thereby these houses have remained without any electricity since the 1980’s. The main objective was to provide reliable electricity to these houses. We could provide electrification to 28 houses before funds ran dry, but there are many more houses of underprivileged people yet to be electrified.
The students and the faculty were taken to the destination and the program was inaugurated by the Panchayat President. Students were divided into groups of four and they were each guided by lab instructors and teachers. The materials were distributed in packets and these were fully funded by IEEE SB TKMCE. The packet consisted of distribution boards, isolators, plastic pipe fittings, switch board, screws and saddles. Many groups started off as quickly as they could, but due to the lack of experience, they were slow. But with the help from KSEB employees and our teachers, the work went as smoothly as possible. Some groups were taken to a different locality and they were successful in constructing the apparatus properly. These groups were often visited by the teachers and lab assistants.
But the difficulties faced were abundant. The walls could get cracked just with a single blow of the hammer. The students had to take extreme care not to let that happen. These houses were merely sun-dried brick walls in many cases. The knowledge and decisions of the concerned staff were also taken into consideration. There was a massive support from the home owners as well. They helped the groups in all the little ways that they could.
Some groups, which had finished their houses, were taken to a different locality by KSEB employees. By then, our group of 48 students had completed around 28 houses.
The exposure and the hands-on experience that was received by the students was an eye opener. Many of them were so happy that they could be a part of this program. The happiness seen on the faces of each houseowners were the real reward we received. We were successful in completing the task within the given duration.
Switching on ceremony
After completing the formalities of Kerala Electricity Board, the switch on function was conducted.
Dr. Celia Shahnaz is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as well as the 2017 Communications Chair of the IEEE SIGHT steering Committee.