Questions over the electrification drive raised due to lack of understanding, says Power Minister
NEW DELHI, MAY 1
On April 28, the government announced that all villages in the country had been electrified. But critics and locals point to villages still being without power.
Defending the government’s claim, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, RK Singh, said the questions over the electrification drive were raised due to lack of understanding of the functioning of government machinery. “Each census village has pockets of houses under multiple hamlets within itself. These hamlets will be electrified as the households are connected. We have set a target of connecting each household in the country by December 31, 2018,” he said.
The village electrification drive was covered under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna. Under the scheme, the Centre had aimed to connect 18,452 villages to the electricity grid within 1,000 days from August 15, 2015. Another 1,227 villages were added to the list of villages to be electrified as they were not reported by the States earlier.
An official statement said 2,762 of these villages have been electrified through off grid solutions. But, connecting all villages does not mean that the DDUGJY will lapse. “In addition to village electrification, the DDUGJY has other objectives too,” Chairman and Managing Director at Rural Electrification Corporation, PV Ramesh told BusinessLine.
“These include feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers, improvement of sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of supply and metering to reduce the losses,” he said.
The next objective, to connect every house in the country with electricity is even more daunting.
Under the Saubhagya scheme, the aim is to connect nearly 3.64 crore houses in the country with electricity. Of this, a little over 50 lakh have been electrified till date, according to the Saubhagya dashboard.
Nearly 83 per cent of all households in the country have electricity connections, a top government official said.