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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Their Saubhagya? No power connection but they’re getting bills

The village, which has no electricity since Independence, was surveyed for Narendra Modi government’s much touted Saubhagya Yojna last year.

cities Updated: May 06, 2019 00:15 IST
Farhan Ahmed Siddiqui
Farhan Ahmed Siddiqui
Prayagraj
An electricity pole without cables in the village.
An electricity pole without cables in the village.(HT Photo)
         

Albert Einstein proved that light travels faster than sound. Taking the theory further, some enthusiastic powermen in a UP village have proved that electricity bill travels faster than electricity.

Welcome to Kohadia village of Bara tehsil in Prayagraj.

The village, which has no electricity since Independence, was surveyed for Narendra Modi government’s much touted Saubhagya Yojna last year.

Under the scheme, which is also known as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, the government aims to provide electricity to all households. The project was announced in September 2017.

The survey under the scheme also brought hope for some 200 villagers, who are mostly labourers and workers engaged in stone quarries in Shankargarh area.

Soon after the survey, electricity poles were delivered to the village. Some were even erected by the contractors after yet another survey.

Months later, in December last year, the power department officials came calling to install electricity meters to the houses. It was also done with professionalism and speed, which are often seen missing in the implementation of government projects.

The only missing link to their dreams of getting electricity connections was the connection cable between the poles and their house.

“It was a matter of days,” promised powermen to the owners of around 50 thatched houses in the village.

Used to surviving hot summers without refrigerators, fans and coolers since Independence, the residents hoped they will celebrate the whiff of ‘power’ soon.

“When the electricity will come we will not have to go to nearby villages to get our mobile phones charged,” Samaylal, a resident, used to tell his mates.

And children like Shalini, Dinesh, Bablu and Arvind, who all go to nearby primary schools, hoped that they will get to do homework in their homes and not under lantern or ‘dibri.’

However, months passed by but no cables were drawn to their thatched houses.

Villagers claim they lodged several complaints with concerned officials at the power substation in Naribari but to no avail.

The ‘power’ remained elusive. What instead followed was some shock — in the form of electricity bills.

“It was a double whammy. While we did not get any power, they shamelessly sent us the electricity bills for the showpiece hanging outside our home (power meter),” said Guddi Devi, a resident whose husband received a message on his mobile informing him that he has to pay his electricity bill for the month.

“We are ready to pay bills but at least they should give is electricity first. What should we pay for now,” said Samaylal, who received the bill of around Rs 150.

Even as the harried consumers run from pillar to post, general manager, UPPCL (Prayagraj division) MC Sharma said, “The bills may have been generated due to some fault and instructions will be issued to enquire into the anomaly. It will also be ensured that electricity is provided soon to the villagers.”

First Published: May 06, 2019 00:15 IST

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