Cottage will stop migration: Sometimes mountain life revolved around Gharat

Special things
The strongest source of income is on the verge of disappearance
Gharat is able to provide employment to every village even today
Upgraded gharats are becoming a means for people’s economy

The murky sight of an elderly man from Gondar, the last village of Kedarghati, gives the ghetto strength running from the water nearby. Upgraded with the help of Ureda, he grinds grains and makes electricity.

His initiative raises hopes of giving new life to the dying gharats and encourages that if efforts are made, the axis of mountain life can become a gharat again. According to Ureda, about 17 thousand gharats are still present in the state. Only 1300 of these have been upgraded. There is also a claim that there are more than 70 thousand Gharats in the state.

Once a source of income in the ghetto mountainous region, running from the burial donkeys to the rivers, there were places of reconciliation. It was only the gharat, from which the grain which had been crushed was seen through the transaction as essential goods. Gharats were not just gharats, but used to be the axis of social, economic and cultural life of the people.

According to experts, almost 50 years ago, there used to be a large number of Gharat in every village. According to HESCO’s founding director Anil Joshi, the Himalayan region had around two lakh gharats. In Uttarakhand itself, their number was more than 70 thousand. With the change of time, the usefulness of these ghats decreased and due to their lack of modernization, this village cottage industry was on the verge of ending.

The village Goundar is still illuminated by the lightning from Gharat.
Goundar, the last village of Ukhimath Valley, is still illuminated by the lightning from Gharat. Being in the protected forest area, electricity has not reached this village yet. The people of the village also grind grain from the gharat and also take electricity from it. This is the modern form of gharat, which maintains its utility.

Despite this, due to the change in weather, the gharats have also been affected. Gharats were closed due to low water in many valleys of Chamoli including Someshwar. On the other hand, very low water gharats were not installed in their place.

Milling and power generation

In the village of Chansar in Pithoragarh district, Krishna Ram Kohli is grinding wheat, spices along with preparing electricity from Gharat. 60 kg in one hour from Gharat. Wheat is brewed and up to two kilowatts of electricity are being produced.

Under the scheme of Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA), Krishna Ram upgraded the old Gharat in the year 2017. It cost Rs 2.10 lakh. On which the government got a grant of 1.5 lakh rupees. Now they have plans to generate power up to 50 kW from Gharat.

District –    Number of Upgrades
Pauri –                       62
Tehri –                      226
Chamoli –                 298
Uttarkashi –            108
Rudraprayag –        48
Dehradun –             155
Nainital –                 111
Almora –                   42
Bageshwar –            150
Champawat –           86
…………………………………….
Total –                      1341
At a glance …
– There were more than two lakh gharats in the Himalayan region
– The masters used to get a salary from the tax of Gharat
– It was also a time when the British used to take tax in return for milling from the gharats. This can be gauged by how prevalent the Gharat hill region was. Not only this, this tax was so much that it gives salary to the masters.
– According to the survey of Ureda, there are 15449 traditional gharats in the state, electricity is being prepared by modernizing these gharats.
– In inaccessible areas, grinding of grains, spices can be used as well as making electricity.
– There is also a subsidy of six thousand rupees for upgrading the gharat up to five kilowatts.

I believe that the economy of the mountain can be improved with the help of gharat. HESCO modernized many Gharats and found that it significantly increased the income of Gharat operators. With the new technology, gharats are now very useful. They can generate electricity and many other things can be done from extracting oil, grinding grains. If there is a ghetto in every village, then it can be a great means of employment. People are earning more than 25 thousand rupees per month from the funds that HESCO upgraded.
– Dr. Anil Joshi, Founder HESCO

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