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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

UP govt to urge Centre to reopen Saubhagya Scheme in state

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to request the Centre to reopen the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, also known as Saubhagya Scheme, in the state to give another chance to the poor to get free electricity connection in case they did not get one earlier

lucknow Updated: Jul 01, 2019 16:49 IST
Brajendra Parashar
Brajendra Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
The scheme closed on March 31 this year.
The scheme closed on March 31 this year.(Representative image)
         

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to request the Centre to reopen the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, also known as Saubhagya Scheme, in the state to give another chance to the poor to get free electricity connection in case they did not get one earlier, a senior official said.

The government will also urge the Centre to allow three more months to complete schemes like the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) to cover the time lost due to Lok Sabha elections.

Principal secretary, energy, and UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) chairman Alok Kumar informed the managing directors of various discoms and other officials about the government decisions during a video conference on Saturday.

According to an official present in the meeting, Kumar said the government would soon send a letter to the Centre requesting it to reopen the Saubhagya for some time and extend the deadline of some other Centre-funded schemes by three months. The deadline for these schemes is September 30.

The official said Kumar asked engineers to stem losses and speed up revenue recovery. He asked the officials to ensure that the revenue in June should be 20% more than the one collected in May.

He said revenue collection might have been affected in April and May due to elections, but now, there was no such constraint.

Saubhagya Scheme, which sought to provide electricity connection to each and every household, was launched nationally in September 2017 with UP giving more than 1 crore new connections to as many ‘willing families’ under the project.

The scheme closed on March 31 this year.

“It is estimated that 20-25 lakh households did not take electricity connections under Saubhagya for various reasons defeating the government’s plan. Many poor families in villages or even in cities were not ready to take a power connection even if free and we could not compel them,” said a UPPCL official.

He said the families that refused to take power connections were the ones which had apprehensions of getting inflated bills or were already using electricity illegally through ‘katias’.

Now, with the UPPCL laying ABC lines in villages making the use of ‘katias’ impossible and also supply electricity as many as 18 hours to rural areas, the families that earlier refused to take a formal connection under Saubhagya Scheme might be willing to get free power connection.

According to sources, the UPPCL officials will hold a meeting with Union power ministry officials early next month to request for the reopening of Saubhagya for a few months.

New power distribution sub-stations are also being set under Saubhagya to deal with the future demand growth and for this purpose the scheme is on till September 30 but the state government is seeking extension of Saubhagya till December 31 for the purpose of sub-station construction.