A beacon of hope in the midst of chaotic uncertainty – that was Dr A P Sreekumar’s residence located at Kizhakkenada near Mahadeva Temple at Chengannur when the floods hit his neighbourhood. With ANERT solar power units powering his house, his house had become a relief camp as well as a communication centre during the turbulent days.
When the flood hit, the KSEB authorities turned off power distribution to the entire region to prevent further danger. However, Dr Sreekumar’s house remained lit up all those days. His family offered refuge to five families in the neighbourhood, helped relay SOS messages to rescue workers and even helped fishermen and other rescue workers from other districts to charge their mobile phones and stay connected.
It was five years ago, Sreekumar, an Ayurveda doctor who retired as the District Medical Officer of Alapuzha over a year ago, installed a solar roof top power plant in his house under the project of ANERT. He was a strong environmentalist and a proponent of renewable energy. Little did he know then one day his small effort would help save a handful of lives from the face of extreme danger.
He has a solar power plant to light up bulbs, fans and other light duty electronic equipment including TV. He also has a solar water heater as an alternative for the energy guzzler, electric geyser.
‘’We could also charge our mobile phones that became really helpful in saving two members of a family in the neighbourhood’’, Sreekumar said. The family, comprising an elderly man and his son was stranded in the inundated house. The younger son, who was in Gulf sensed that they were in danger when he could not reach them on phone. He frantically tried the numbers of all the neighbourhood residents and Sreekumar picked up.
‘’At that time, the military and fishermen were yet to arrive and the rescue operations were being carried out by local youths along with police and fire and rescue staff. I could alert them and save the duo’’, he said.