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Electrifying villages: UP, Bihar to be big test for Saubhagya scheme

Sharma said while 6.5 lakh electricity connections had been provided in the past 14 years in UP, the BJP govt led by Yogi Adityanath had given out 36 lakh electricity connections in the last one year.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: May 01, 2018, 09.57 AM IST
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The power ministers of both states said that progress under Saubhagya will pick up speed over the next eight months now that electricity has reached every village.
NEW DELHI: After completing the job of pending electrification of all inhabited villages in the country, the Centre is now focussing on ensuring power is available in every house under the Saubhagya scheme by the year-end, something that may take yeoman effort to achieve in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The two states account for over half of the households in the country without electricity.

UP will need to electrify almost 1.33 crore households, while Bihar needs to bring electricity to almost 32 lakh households in the next eight months. A total of 3.13 crore households are without electricity in the country.

UP, the country’s largest state, electrified about 5.42 lakh houses in February, while Bihar electrified about 95,000 houses. UP will need to provide electricity to about 16 lakh houses a month and Bihar 4 lakh houses a month if they are to meet the target by December.

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“Close monitoring is being done at the highest level of the progress of Saubhagya in UP and Bihar and these are focus states for us on the scheme so that there are no slip-ups. Both states have assured completion of the target by the deadline,” a senior government official in New Delhi told ET.

The Saubhagya scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2017 to achieve household electrification by providing lastmile connectivity and electricity connections to all households in rural and urban areas.
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The power ministers of both states told ET that progress under Saubhagya will pick up speed over the next eight months now that electricity has reached every village.

“It is a big challenge, but from May, you will see much higher progress under Saubhagya. There is lot of backlog of connections we have given which will soon get uploaded on the Saubhagya portal. Even when PM had given us 1,000 days to electrify all 18,000-odd villages, people had called it an impossible task but we achieved it before time. Same will be with Saubhagya,” UP power minister Shrikant Sharma told ET.

“The Centre has electrified every village but in Bihar, we have reached even further to every tola (sub-unit in a village) with electricity. We will definitely complete the job of electrifying every village by year-end… we could have even done it earlier, but floods ravage the state every year from mid-June and we are factoring in that,” Bihar power minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav told ET.

Sharma said while 6.5 lakh electricity connections had been provided in the past 14 years in UP, the BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath had given out 36 lakh electricity connections in the last one year.

“That shows our speed,” Sharma told ET. As per the three-week long ongoing Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, UP is targeting over 6 lakh SC/ST households in 3,387 villages for complete saturation with electricity connections, while Bihar is targeting about 45,000 such households in 635 villages under Saubhagya.

Another matter that may be of concern to the Centre is that both states have consistently lagged behind on a key rural project – Swachh Bharat – reporting only 64% and 53% coverage so far compared with the national average of 83%.

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