The truth behind the electrification of Nagla Fatela village in Hathras district of Western UP is finally out in open thereby putting to rest the false claims and confusion created by the leaders of Samajwadi Party — the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a mention of village Nagla Fatela, as one of the 10,000 odd villages electrified under the village electrification drive of the NDA government.
Documents/communications that have been sent from the highest level (that of principal secretary) in the UP government to the union power ministry on the electrification of Nagla Fatela village (in possession of EnergyInfraPost.com) have an altogether different story to tell.
Witness the scheme of events:
Under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), through which the rural electrification drive is being pursued, the Central Government allots funds on the basis of reports by the State Government. Being a concurrent subject the Centre cannot provide electricity or infrastructure on its own.
In 2013, the State Government added Nagla Fatela village to the list of 1529 un-electrified villages on the basis of which, funds would be allocated. A high-power committee comprising not only the State’s senior most electricity department authorities but also the senior most official of Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Secretary, sent this list. What is worse, the State Government claimed that this village had zero houses electrified and that the transmission line had zero load. They also proposed the power infrastructure that would be built.
A letter was sent from the managing director of the UP state distribution company, DVVNL to Central government nodal agency for village electrification—the Rural Electrification of India for inclusion of Hathras in the 12th plan of DDUGJY-RE, where Nagla Fatela was shown as an un-electrified village with Zero households electrified. The state government’s proposal included provision of connections to all households and sought infrastructure including one transformer of 63kVA, four transformers of 25kVA, High Tension 1.57 km, LT 1.54 km (three phase) and LT 0.62 km (single phase).
Communication dated February 26, 2015 from DVVNL, Agra mentioned that Nagla Fatela is among the balance un-electrified villages as on December 31, 2014. Clearly, under the terms of DDUGJY, this was a fit case for electrification. On the basis of this data, the NDA government released funds and work was carried out. Thereafter, on 30th October 2015, the State DISCOM verified that it had completed the work.
Based on this confirmation, the central government released details of the electrification work of the village on its GARV app to ensure that the public was kept in the loop and subsequently, PM Modi announced that this village had benefitted from the scheme.
However, when the media went to the village, they found people claiming that they had electricity since around 1985. Merely some poles had been laid but electricity was not being provided!
It has now come to light that the people exasperated after years of empty promises, had drawn illegal connections from their agricultural pump lines for which, the state government gives subsidised rates. Entrepreneurial officers of the Distribution Company allowed these connections in return for a minimal bill, and presumably, some other considerations that account for what is called ‘disproportionate assets’.
Keeping up to its reputation, the Samajwadi Party government turned a Nelson’s eye to this pilferage and did not even bother to provide electricity through the new infrastructure.
From this episode it is clear that the Samajwadi Party has been trying to defeat the very purpose of this scheme. Under the Gujarat model of electricity, rural feeders were separated between agriculture and habitations so that adequate electricity at different rates could be provided to the people. Rampant power theft is responsible for the high rates of power as well as the fact that rural people do not get electricity because farmers are provided electricity only during certain times of the day.
In addition, the criminal waste of the new infrastructure is another example of the rot especially in Uttar Pradesh. While Mumbai is still struggling to become a Shanghai, Nagla Fatela has certainly become one because of ghost infrastructure.
There is another case that even the infrastructure was not built and that the village was really electrified. SP government has been demanding additional funds for Uttar Pradesh. The question that needs asking is funds to create ghost infrastructure or non-existent infrastructure.
Clearly, the UP government has much to answer. The NDA government has now used its implementing agency, the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) to seek details from the Uttar Pradesh government on this village. It has also uploaded all the relevant documents on its website (http://powermin.nic.in/sites/default/files/uploads/Facts_on_Nagla_Fatela.pdf).
Currently, Writing a Book for Penguin India Titled Greased Pole:How Politics and Lobbying Stifled India’s Energy Dreams. The author can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org (9810661825)