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PM’s power scheme a major challenge for UPPCL

To meet the target by Dec 2018, the power corporation will have to give nearly 12 lakh connections a month or 39,000 a day across Uttar Pradesh.

lucknow Updated: Sep 28, 2017 15:45 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times. Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh accounts for more than 40% of the country’s total 4 crore households without an electricity connection
Uttar Pradesh accounts for more than 40% of the country’s total 4 crore households without an electricity connection

Uttar Pradesh will be a litmus test for the Rs 16,000 crore Saubhagya Yojana announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, seeking to carry electricity to each and every household by December 2018.

The state accounts for more than 40% of the country’s total 4 crore households without an electricity connection and the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), the government-owned electricity distribution company, will need to act literally at lightning speed to live up to the PM’s announcement of giving an electricity connections to all unserved households within the next 15 months.

In order to meet the target, the corporation needs to issue electricity connections to all unserved households at the breakneck rate of nearly 12 lakh connections a month or 39,000 a day, considering the fact that it is left with only 455 days (including all the holidays!) to cover 1.75 crore households that do not have a power connection at present.

Of the total households yet to be electrified, only 15 lakh have been found in cities while the rest are in rural areas, as per the UPPCL’s records.

Giving electricity connections to all the 1.75 crore powerless households in cities and villages within a timeframe as short as 15 months, experts believe, will pose a formidable challenge to the state. “Nothing is impossible in the world but considering the prevailing work culture in the UPPCL, giving nearly 12 lakh power connections every month seems to be an unlikely proposition,” UPPCL’s ex-director (distribution) Arun said.

It is revealed that around 50 lakh households in UP have the power network in progress around them and can be given a connection after the network is complete, but the bigger challenge comes from the remaining households since the villages/hamlets they are situated in are yet to be electrified.

The problem does end here. Interestingly, of the total around 2.90 crore power consumers in the state, 68 lakhs are enjoying unmetered power supply, mostly in villages, and the number is growing every year causing a huge finance loss to the UPPCL. Installing so many meters is also not a mean task.

Additionally, in the state there are also 50,000 remote villages where normal grid electrification is not possible due to typical geographical conditions and efforts have to be made to get them connected to the off-grid solar power.

All-India Power Engineers’ Federation chairman, Shailendra Dubey welcomed the Saubhagya Yojana as announced by the PM on Monday but said, “It will be a great challenge to achieve the target in UP that alone accounts for more than 40% of the country’s total powerless households.” He suggested the government should rely more on the public sector for the success of the scheme.

UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president, Awadheh Kumar Verma raised a different issue. “Merely giving electricity connections to all the households will not suffice unless power is made available to rural consumers at an affordable price, failing which people will surrender their connections later even if they are persuaded to take them now,” he said.