Tikoil village, popularly known as “Alpona Gram”, in Chapainawabganj has got another feather in the cap with installation of solar street lights.
Now its traditional artworks done by female inhabitants of the village, in Nachole upazila, will be visible at night too.
Earlier this month, Chapainawabganj Deputy Commissioner (DC) AZM Nurul Haque inaugurated 17 solar street lights in Tikoil village where power outage is a common occurrence.
“There are 1,135 villages in the district, but the district administration picked Tikoil [for installing the solar street lights] because people there have strong aesthetic sense. They are talented and creative. We installed the lights to enrich the village further,” said the DC.
Located about 27 kilometres away from the district headquarters, Tikoil village has earned the name “Alpona Gram” as more than 50 houses there are decorated with colourful motifs drawn by women.
The Bangla word alpona refers to colourful motifs, sacred art or painting done with hands and a type of paint on auspicious occasions in Bengal.
Visitors from near and far come to the village to see the art. Around one-third of its inhabitants are Hindus. The Hindu women usually decorate their houses with alpona during religious festivals like Durga puja, Swaraswati puja, Laxmi puja, Kali puja and other festivals such as Nabanna Utsab, Pahela Baishakh and wedding ceremonies.
The new street lights in Tikoil village have come as a respite to people of all ages, especially the women. “We used to be scared to go outside alone at night as this is a remote area. Now we can go out without any hesitation,” said Dekhan Bala Barman, a homemaker of the village.
“Now that the solar lights are there, my children can play in the yard in the evening as well,” said another resident Anita Rani, who has a daughter and a son.
Robin Barman used to stumble in darkness while returning home from work every night. It took him about 25 minutes to walk the half kilometre-long pothole-riddled road of the village.
“The road condition is not good. Before, I had to be very careful with every step. But lately, the street lights had been greatly helpful. It has lit up the area,” Robin told this paper.
“Electrical outage is frequent here. Sometimes it is out for hours. Now the solar lights keep the area illuminated from evening till dawn,” said farmer Proshanto Barman, another resident of the village.