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Clamorworld Exclusive- India’s Rural Electrification Drive: A Reality Check!

 

The Power Minister Piyush Goyal has claimed that the Government will be successful in completing and 100% implementation of electrification drive by May 2017, almost a year before the 1000-day deadline set by the Modi Government expires. But the question is would that be a realistic deadline and is it possible to reach electricity to each and every Indian household by May next year? This seems especially doubtful after the mid-term assessment of the Union Power Ministry revealed that most states are going slow on the rural electrification programme. Most states seem to have failed to put in the last mile required to make it successful.

Of the total 18,500 villages that were identified as ‘not-electrified’ in April 2015, close to 7500 are still in absolute darkness. This is as per the statistics available by the Power Ministry. In over 6000 villages, work has not yet started, especially states like Orissa and Jharkhand are lagging behind in a major way. Though the Power Ministry tried exerting pressure by advancing the target date twice eversince the 2018 deadline was set by the Ministry initially. However the ground movement has been much slower than originally anticipated.

The Power Ministry’s report indicates that

  • West Bengal has not electrified even one of the 14 villages that were supposed to be
  • Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir have electrified a mere two villages in the same period
  • Uttarakhand needs to complete electrification of 76 villages and Jammu & Kashmir has to electrify a total of 107 villages by the end of 2016
  • Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh have been ablel to complete a mere 20% of the total target

    Jharkhand has seen some speeding up electrifying close to 500 villages in the same time but it still is short of 1,200 villages.

In all states like Assam, Arunachal, Odisha and Jharkhand account for close to 75% of the

incomplete work. Uttarpradesh amongs them has seen a reasonably higer pace of work, electrifying a total of 131 of the total 182 villages crossing two-third of the target by August.

The Ministry also seems to be pulling states that have been lagging and it is insisting that there is no shortage of funds in getting the work done. The question now is while it took close to two years to complete 60% of the task, will 40% get done in less than 9 months? Guess it is a wait and watch game.

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