Not a bolt from the blue. Sunrays instead gushed into the dark and shabby huts of Sandhya Hembram, Chabirani Kisku of Rautora alongside the sheds of Dhanmani Murmu, Behula Kisku of Haludkanali in the Jungle Mahal localities of Bankura on Saturday when the devices installed to trap sunbeams were installed to help percolation of sunray drilling the hoods of their homes.

Poor families like that of Sandhya and Behula who stay in areas where grid power connectivity is bad are now being taught to adopt solar energy — thanks to the Centre’s Science and Technology department-funded Micro Solar Dome (MSD) technology that has started flooding the wretched huts with illumination round-theclock.

The IIT, Kharagpur, with ground-level assistance by Pradan, an NGO headquartered at Noida, has entered into the second phase of the “dramatic” illumination project that has started lighting up their lives.

“It’s mesmerising — how a small ray of sun is glowing inside my hut and I can see every corner of my room though its dusk now!” murmured Aloki Tudu of Barikul – a village that has witnessed massacres unleashed by the Maoist squads till 2010.

The MSD is a day and night lighting single device that has a transparent semi-spherical upper dome made of acrylic materials which captures the sunlight that passes through a tube having a thin layer of highly reflective coating on the inner wall of the passage.

The IIT, Kharagpur together with NB Institute of Rural Technology (NBIRT) has developed the device. The device is also equipped with solar panels to help illumination at night. Four IIT Kharagpur professors, headed by Priyodarshi Patnaik – the joint project investigator with two students attended the second phase’s flag-off today.

In the first phase 400 families of 11 villages like Kawatanga, Burisal, Birbandh, Bagdubi Panjantola in Rautora, Rudra, Haludkanali and Barikul panchayats were accommodated in the MSD project.

“Today, the second phase of the project is kicked off in which 251 families are accommodated initially,” said Saranmoyee Kar, a project executive of Pradan. In the second phase, 956 solar domes are required for absolute coverage of the 1256 households.