As many continue to highlight mistakes in the Prime Minister’s speech on Independence Day, power minister Piyush Goyal has come to his rescue. Goyal has filed a show cause notice against a state-owned power distribution company, DVVNL (Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd) in Uttar Pradesh to get to the bottom of the controversy surrounding the electrification of the village, Nagla Fatela.
The PM had claimed that it had taken 70 years for electricity to reach this small village but in reality, this village continues to live in darkness. “It takes only three hours to reach Nagla Fatela. But it took 70 years for electricity to reach there,” Narendra Modi remarked during his August 15 speech. This kicked up a storm, as this village that lies 300 kms away from Delhi, continues to live in darkness. Various opposition MPs and Uttar Pradesh MLAs have also attacked the prime minister following the revelation.
The information provided to the PMO on electrification of villages is based on data provided by DVVNL. I don’t manufacture data,” Piyush Goyal told HT. Goyal points to emails and letters received by the power ministry since 2013 for electrification of Hathras district and the many villages within it, including Nagla Fatela. “The sanction letter went out in January 2014. We got a mail from DVVNL, we were informed that 82 APL households have been electrified. While the mail also conforms creation of infrastructure for electrification,” Goyal said pointing to the mail from DVVNL, that he received in November 2015. These mails are part of regular correspondence between the central power ministry and DVVNL, where the discom has also informed the government that the project for electrifying several villages including Nagla Fatela, was awarded to M/s Accurate Transformers in 2014.
The showcause notice accessed by HT, gives DVVNL three days to respond. “We want to know why they told us that the village has been energised while in reality is hasn’t been,” Goyal said.
The prime minister has been criticised on several occasions about the inaccuracy of facts he presents. While rural electrification has also received its fair share of controversies, claims made by Goyal’s ministry on electrification of villages under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, have been contested in the past; with the power ministry’s defence being that data on the number and names of villages electrified is based on information from the states.
“It is not possible for us to go to each village and check, for this we will have to depend on information provided by state governments. We at the centre have always been more than eager to facilitate and provide funds for electrification,” clarifies Goyal.