‘44% rural households in UP still powerless’
Over 44% of rural households in Uttar Pradesh still do not have access to electricity, despite electrification of all villages in the state, said a power sector official who did not wish to be identified.
Although the country may have achieved the 100% village electrification target as informed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a tweet on Sunday, this does not necessarily mean that every rural household in the state has power now.
“It is true more than 1.33 crore households (in UP) still cannot have access to power supply despite the electrification of all around 1.25 crore villages and hamlets. Giving power connections to such a large number of unelectrified households by March 2019 is certainly an uphill task,” said a senior Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd official, who did not wish to be identified.
The government data on household electrification shows that of the 3,018,5950 total households in UP only 1,33,23,549 are electrified or have an electrified connection till date (as on May 1) which means only 55% households are electrified.
Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for nearly 42% of the total 3.13 crore unelectrified households in the country.
The data further shows that UP had 1,54,79,904 unelectrified rural households before the launch of the Saubhagya scheme on October 11. The scheme seeks to provide an electricity connection to each and every household by March 2017. Since then, Uttar Pradesh has been able to give around 21 lakh connections. This is nearly 13% of the target.
District-wise status of household electrification presents a very poor picture.
Jhansi, for example, has over 72% unelectrified households and Lalitpur 74% and Jalaun 74.98%.
The definition of rural electrification has been changing from time to time.
As per the current definition, a village is declared as electrified if 10% of the total inhabited households have an official electricity connection, apart from public places like schools, health centres, panchayat bhawan if any, also being connected.
“This is why all over 1.25 crore villages and hamlets are technically electrified in the state, although nearly half of the total households still do not have an electricity connection,” said people familiar with the matter.
“But most of these unelectrified households may be using electricity illegally,” they said.