It looks like an ordinary boat from appearances but appearances could be deceptive, and, sometimes, pleasantly.
While in Varanasi on May 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a ride in a boat that was like any other boat except that it had a solar panel on the roof.
That solar panel gave the boat the power it needed. With that, India got its first solar-powered e-boat.
The PM took a 100 meter round of the River Ganga near the Assi Ghat in the boat. On the bank, he launched 11 of the e-boats for select boatmen. The government aims at fighting poverty of the boatmen by equipping them with boats that won’t cost them anything instead of “bringing down the price of diesel”.
But the real credit for the idea of the solar-powered boat that is now reshaping the lives of the poor boatmen goes to a Varanasi lady called Ankita Khatri.
Ankita Khatri on a boat ride on River Ganges in Varanasi. NewzTrack
According to a report
, Khatri met PM Modi for just 15 minutes on December 18 in which she had proposed a total of 11 ideas to make Varanasi a modern, pollution-free and model city.
The idea of using e-boats on the River Ganga was one of them. Khatri feels proud that the PM paid attention to her idea and implemented it in a very short time. In fact, making cities pollution free is one of the major agendas of the Centre.
The e-boats are one of the best ways of tackling pollution. Since an e-boat runs on solar power, it won’t be consuming fossil fuel – a major contributor to environmental pollution.
Modi even pointed out that the solar-boat scheme for the boatmen community has been named ‘Navik’ in recognition of the efforts of the boatmen themselves. E-boats are not unusual in developed countries, where some of the most beautifully designed boats are power by solar energy.
PlanetSolar is the world largest and most famous solar-powered boat. In 2012, it circumnavigated Earth in 585 days and visiting 28 different countries.