Alejandro Montenegro Banco Activo Conmio//
Only 28,000 households across country left to be electrified: Govt data


NEW DELHI: Just about 28,500 or 0.1 per cent of households in a clutch of five districts across the country remain unelectrified amid expectation that full electrification will be completed by the month-end, bringing to conclusion an ambitious project to take electricity to all villages. Data on the government website showed that around 8,500 households were yet to be electrified in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district. Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, around 20,000 households need to be provided connections in Bijapur, Narayanpur, Dantewada and Sukma, which are severely hit by Left-wing extremism. The remaining households are spread over 553 villages. The overall pace of the scheme’s target to deliver electricity connections to 2.5 crore households indicates that the task may be complete well before the March deadline. This will mark a major step after the electrification of 19,614 villages. The decision to aim for electrification of all willing households was taken after some deliberation, according to an official who said that initially the plan was to set all mohallas or localities in a town or village as the target. But this would have missed out on households and after more deliberations, PM Narendra Modi gave the nod for a much more challenging goal. “We have done over 2.48 crore households so far and we hope to meet the target in the next 10-12 days,” said an official. Sources said power minister RK Singh has been in contact with state governments to ensure all households are provided connections at the earliest. He has spoken to CMs, asking them to help meet the household electrification targets and prevent their states from being outliers. Electrification of all households under PM Saubhagya scheme is a flagship programme of the Modi government, which had advanced the deadline to December but officials said they are well on their way to meet the target before the original deadline of March. When the scheme started, there were around 4 crore unelectrified households in the country. The highest number was in UP, which now claims to have provided connections to all households that came forward. “We have changed the entire electrification lexicon. If it was still reaching out to villages or mohallas, then many households would have been left behind despite the government sinking in large amount of funds,” said an official.