Electrification work in rural areas did not gather the pace that it should have. Despite the claims of Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL), electricity has not reached the villages in the first three quarters of the current financial year - which means the villagers will continue to spend yet another winter in cold and darkness.
According to UPCL’s figures, 13.4 lakh homes have been electrified of 14.4 lakh in the rural parts of the state.
But the fact is 76 villages in the state are still awaiting power connectivity.
In the last financial year (2014-15), 76 villages had to be electrified. In the current financial year, the same number of villages is still awaiting power supply.
However, UPCL spokesperson Madhusudan said on Tuesday: “Uttarakhand has performed well on rural electrification front. The remaining 76 villages will get electricity very soon as there are some technicalities that need to be resolved first.”
UPCL claims 87% rural households have been electrified, of which those under Dehradun district has the highest electrification of 96%.
As villages are more populous than the urban areas, it’s the villagers who are deprived of power. According to the survey figures, 70% of the families reside in rural areas and only 30% in cities.
Rural electrification has been one of the ambitious programmes of the union power ministry.
Earlier, it was Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) scheme that provided the funding. Between financial years 2001-2002 and 2013-2014 UPCL received R 707 crore.
But, ever since Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DUGYY) scheme has been introduced, rural electrification work has almost come to a standstill.
“Whatever official figures claim, the reality is most of the villages in Pauri, Uttarkashi, and Chamoli are enveloped in darkness. In some villages, one can see some electric poles but there is no power supply,” claimed Ratan Singh Aswal, an activist who is studying migration pattern in the rural areas.