India File

India File: Job is half done in this century-old UP village

Debabrata Das | Updated on January 20, 2018

Bringing light At one of the few lit houses in Gidhaul RAMESH SHARMA

While Gidhaul has the infrastructure, now it is up to the State to bring power to the people

About 250 km away from the national capital is Gidhaul, a nondescript village in Uttar Pradesh. The elders do not remember when people started living here; some say Gidhaul is over a century old. And through those 100 years and till 2015, the residents of Gidhaul had lived in darkness.

The village has 5,000 households in seven habitations, says Ajay Pal, a local resident who works with the village Pradhan. Out of the seven habitations, two have households with electricity.

Gidhaul is one amongst the over 7,500 villages that have been electrified under the Central Government’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana.

But the job is half done. “Despite electricity poles and wiring work, only 36 out of the 5,000 households have taken an electricity connection,” Pal says. Even these 36 households do not get more than 12 hours of electricity a day.

The onus is on the State. Under the DDUGJY, Rural Electrification Corporation sets up the infrastructure such as high-tension poles and transformers, and the Centre provides funding to the State governments for providing electricity connections. REC completed its work in 25 days, towards the end of last year in Gidhaul. “A total of 165 electricity poles have been erected,” one of the village elders said.

Now it is the responsibility of Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, the Uttar Pradesh Government-owned distribution utility to provide electricity connections. Village elders allege rampant corruption in getting a connection.

“They give us a receipt for only ₹ 1,800 but charge us ₹ 5,000 per connection. How will we pay so much,” says another elder.

Published on May 23, 2016

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