Two-third of Assam still under darkness
Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yoja comes a cropper in Assam, rendering
‘Electricity to all by 2012’ a failed promise
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 22: A status report on the State's electrification starkly belies the much-hyped slogan of Tarun Gogoi government's '15 years of development, 15 years of trust'. It is also a telling commentary on the hollow promises and assurances given by the State government in the past fifteen years.
According to a Niti Aayog report (state statistics) based on the 2011 Census, there are 63.67 lakh families in the State, and of them only 37.1 per cent have electricity. The remaining 61.8 per cent are still using kerosene to light up their homes.
In terms of electrification, Assam is third from the bottom. Bihar has 82.4 per cent of families without power supply while UP still has 61.9 per cent families using kerosene.
The Central government-backed rural electrification scheme has failed to achieve its target, apparently due to official apathy and poor implementation.
That the ambitious Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yoja which aims to create rural electricity infrastructure and provide household electrification, has come a cropper in Congress-ruled Assam was recently highlighted in a House Committee report.
An Assembly Committee had stumbled upon a slew of lacus in implementation that has plagued the scheme in Assam. The Project Implementing Agency had assigned the work to another agency that has slowed down the execution besides creating lot of disputes --- the committee, formed to examine the adequacy and efficacy of the scheme, said in its report.
The committee also felt that deployment of only two officials in a district for implementation of the scheme has stymied its progress. Moreover, the committee observed that selection process of beneficiaries was not proper even as there were anomalies in the billing.
During its study, the committee came across a large number of damaged and unprotected transformers, defunct meters and incomplete electrification systems. Further, there were several faults in electricity wire connections. The public also apprised the committee that the shortage of power supply was because electricity was supplied beyond the capacity limit of the transformers. On November 15, 2007, the then Power minister Pradyut Bordoloi had told the State Assembly that the State government was in process of getting 'power linkages' for its ambitious plan of total rural electrification programme by 2012. He had said that central electricity authority had completed survey work in all the 25,000 census villages of the State to calculate the total demand by 2012.
Bordoloi had told the Assembly that the State government had set 2009 as the deadline for providing electricity in all villages and by 2012, in all households.
The State government now needs to come clear as to the status of its 'electricity to all by 2012' plan.