As we sit inside our air conditioned offices and homes reading this article on our computers or fancy smart phones and I-Tabs, it is difficult to imagine the joy of a family when they see a electricity bulb lit up for the first time.
Electricity is a basic facility but a large part of rural India with thousands of villages remained un-electrified for many years until 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a resolve to electrify all villages by May 1, 2018.
But then our restless minister and a man in hurry—the union minister of state for power, coal and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, fond of accepting tough challenges and defeating deadlines, decided to prepone this resolve by a year and set May 1, 2017 as the deadline to electrify all 18,452 villages in India.
So even before the 71st Independence Day, India will be a proud country to provide the basic electricity needs of each and every village.
Although it is still a year to go by, every week, one hears that some hundred plus more villages have got electricity. For the week ending June 19th, another 142 villages have been electrified across the country (from 13th to 19 th June 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).
Out of these electrified villages, 6 villages belong to Arunachal Pradesh, 80 in Assam, 16 in Jharkhand, 15 in Meghalaya, 5 in Rajasthan, 8 in Odisha, 3 in Uttar Pradesh, 5 in Bihar, 2 in Karnataka, 1 each in Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh
In a record of sorts, as many as 323 villages were electrified by this government in just a week in March this year and for the week ending March 13, 2016. Thereafter, the count has stayed above 100 villages being electrified week after week.
At the recent conference of state power ministers, Goyal said that all the states have resolved to provide 24×7 power for all by March 2019 or earlier in their respective states.
Further all states, except LWE affected, have also resolved to electrify all remaining unelectrified villages by 31st December 2016 and states will award contracts in the next 30 days for this work.
Goyal said that states have also agreed for providing 100 percent power to all households in 18452 villages in the country in a mission mode by 1st May 2017.
The participating states also resolved to ensure that operational and financial milestones in the MOU for UDAY would also be implemented.
As on June 20th, 2016, a total of 8,384 villages have been electrified till date. Out of remaining 10,068 villages, 459 villages are uninhabitated. 6,481 villages are to be electrified through grid, 2,787 villages to be electrified through off- grid where grid solutions are out of reach due to geographical barriers and 341 villages are to be electrified by State Govt own.
Total 1654 villages were electrified during April 2015 to 14th Aug 2015 and after taking initiative by Government of India for taking it on mission mode, 6,730 additional villages have been electrified from 15thAugust 2015 to 19th June,2016.
In order to expedite the progress further, a close monitoring is being done through Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta (GVA) and various actions are also being taken on regular basis like reviewing the progress on monthly basis during the RPM meeting, sharing of list of villages which are at the stage of under energisation with the state Discom, identifying the villages where milestone progress are delayed.
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)
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