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  project name ~ Bilgaon micro-hydel project

category ~ Alternate Energy




  Project Name


Bilgaon micro-hydel project



PSE (Peoples School of Energy)



Alternate Energy







  Budget Approved


$ 4000


  Year Approved







1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42  

  Chapter Coordinators


Anitha Sampath
Shailja Pathania












About the NGO*: Partnered with AID-India, PSE (Peoples School of Energy), BSFC (Bombay Sarvodaya Friendship Center) and the local community. This project marks the evolution of AIDs efforts in supporting the alternate energy efforts for Rural India. PSE provides implementation knowledge base for alternate energy.

Existing Conditions: The villages of Bilgaon and Maal have not had any source of electricity since Independence and due to the remote nature of this area, they have no hopes of the "main power grid" reaching them anytime in the foreseeable future (read more than a decade).





Inspired by the Narmada Bachao Andolan the village people did Shramdaan (voluntary labour) to construct a check dam, canal, Forebay Tank, Penstock and power-house. The two-meter high check dam was built on top of the water fall to divert a portion of the water through a canal to tank adjacent to the top of the falls. From the tank the waters travels down in a regulated manner through a pipeline on to a turbine in a power house at the foot of the falls. The falling water turns the turbine which rotates a generator and produces 15 KW of electricity to light up every house of Bilgaon and the Ashramshala. To distribute this power 13.5 kilometers of wiring was created over the hilly terrain. A village committee was created to oversee equitable distribution and prioritize energy use for lighting, pumping of drinking water, community agriculture and finally entertainment in that order. The cost of maintenance is passed on to the users by charging for the power used. The project was completed over 8 months with 2000 human-days of volunteer labor by the villagers and Rs. 12 lakhs (~$19,000) in expenses. The Bilgaon micro-turbine power generator was inaugurated by Mr. R. R. Patil, Rural Development Minister of Maharashtra. This successful project has partly inspired the latest Bollywood flick Swades written and directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar of the Lagaan fame. While scripting Swades, Ashutosh Gowarikar and his team visited Bilgaon, Ashutosh Gowarikar visited Bilgaon after spending considerable time with AID Jeevansaathis, Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi who returned to India from the USA to work for village development and who were closely involved with the Bilgaon project on behalf of AID.





a) Provide electricity through a micro-hydel alyternate energy dam to the 320 households in 2 villages of Bilgaon and Maal. (b) Use local community to build and manage the dam ensuring local participation. (c) Ensure sustainability by having a continious revenue source collected through the village (in lieu of the Kerosene that they would otherwise buy).



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