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Sarita Brara

Bal Urja Rakshak Mission or BURMS is a unique programme initiated in Haryana in 2008 with the objective of bringing about attitudinal and behavioural changes in society through children regarding efficient use of energy, climate change and sustainable development.

 

 “Earlier our electricity bill used to be between three to four hundred rupees now it does not exceed Rs 250,” says Budhram a student of Government Senior Secondary School at Rambas in Narnaul district of Haryana.  Budhram, one of the 20 Energy Soldiers in the schools under Bal Urja Rakshak Mission,  says that in the past people in his neighbourhood including his own family would not switch off lights even during the day and when not required but that is not the case now. Budhram says that they also educate villagers on how the electricity bill can be reduced by adopting various measures to use electricity in an efficient manner.

Bal Urja Rakshak Mission or BURMS is a unique programme initiated in Haryana in 2008 with the objective of bringing about attitudinal and behavioural changes in children regarding saving energy by sensitizing them about energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate change and sustainable development. The programme is designed to make full use of children’s potential as persuasive and powerful agents of change by reaching out to their family, fellow students and teachers and their immediate community. 

It is targeted at secondary schools (Class8-10 classes); with each participating school mobilising a team of 20 Urja Rakshaks (energy soldiers), four energy leaders & two energy teachers. The 20 energy soldiers form an ‘Energy Team’ to organise different events and competitions to generate awareness and understanding about   energy saving. The programme is being implemented in a phased manner in selected schools in identified districts of the state and will be completed by the end of 2015.

Preeti Verma from the Government Senior Secondary School in Pali village of Mahendergarh block says she has been able to motivate families in her village not to use fire wood for cooking but LPG. “Some  households  in my neighbourhood are now using solar lighting  system  after  I and my fellow Energy soldiers started spreading  awareness about renewable energy like solar power and the subsidies available,”  Preeti is one of the four energy leaders in her school.

Aum Prakash, an energy teacher in a school says that many people have now started using   CFL bulbs after they impressed upon them how the electricity consumed by these bulbs is much less. He said they educate people on how tube lights give better light and save electricity. He says that as part of the mission they have also been discouraging people to use fire wood as it is polluting and harmful for cook. However, he admits that it is not easy to change the mindset of the people.

Aiding them is Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) which is the nodal agency for implementation of the programme. It has developed an elaborate information and promotional kit for the students including booklets, interactive games and CD, films, posters, and stickers. Apart from celebrating  energy related  days like  National Energy Conservation Day, Akshay Urja Diwas & Urja Utsav, campaigns and rallies  on saving  power for future, visits to renewable energy projects  and competitions in essay writing, slogan and paintings  and  working models and  projects are organised .  Quiz competitions are also organised with cash prizes to motivate and inculcate people’s interest in adopting renewable energy sources, technologies, devices as well efficient use of energy, environment climate change and sustainable development.

There is no doubt that there is a pressing need to make the future generation more aware of the issues and options concerning modest and efficient use of energy resources.  Towards that end the government is initiating a programme that is aimed at creating awareness among the school children by reaching out to them through a web portal, which would be launched soon.

Major Features of web portal for school children will be;

  • To create awareness and outreach among school children across all segments of the society.
  • To support the spread of a culture of energy efficiency among members of the school community, and help them in carrying out energy-conservation activities themselves, and to engage with their immediate environment including parents, teachers, friends and neighbours.
  • To enable interaction amongst school children through creation of Energy Clubs, competitions based on Energy Audits and savings in their schools and essay competitions etc.

The portal will be initially in English, but will be subsequently developed in vernacular languages so as to maximize outreach among children all over the country, aiming to connect with approximately 50,000 schools across the country.

Energy values and habits of conserving energy in a country like ours need to be inculcated in the young generation by encouraging learning through participation and programmes like these that could become a mass movement, so very crucial for development of our country.

Sarita Brara is a freelance journalist

Source: (PIB Features)

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