India File

India File: Tangled in definition

RUTAM VORA | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 23, 2016

Proud Manra Moti (extreme right) and his family with their latest possession, the electricity meter DEEPIKA GANDHI

In this ‘electrified’ Rajasthan village, many still dream of bijli

Manra Moti, in his late 50s, got emotional when his house in Sawan Ka Kyara, a village located between the hillocks of Aravalli mountain range in Udaipur, lit up for the very first time. For Moti, the light from the LED bulb provided by Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), which implements the scheme, brought a ray of hope for his next generation.  " Hum to andhere mein hi paida hue aur jiye. Bijlee aane se itni tasalli hai ki humare bachho ke bhavishya mein ujala hai(I was born and lived in darkness. With electricity in our house, we are convinced that our kids' future is going to be bright)," says Moti as he tears up. 

Under the government's scheme of free electrification of rural BPL households, REC's installation kit includes a meter, a holder, a LED lamp and MCB (miniature circuit breaker) switch.  The installation, as claimed by REC officials, is immune to electric shock.

Also as "all the overhead wires from the poles are rubber-covered, there is little chance of power theft. These BPL households get sufficient load to run all household equipment," says a senior REC official from Jaipur. 

But the story has a fine-print. Though official records – in REC’s GARV portal - show that Sawan Ka Kyara is now ‘electrified,’ BusinessLine found that more than 88 per cent of the 290-odd households were still waiting for bijlee. The village has four schools but none has access to power.  

Though the GARV says, “village has been electrified and electrification of 100 per cent household will be done shortly,” there has been no further progress on the ground. The last visit of the GVA - Grameen Vidyut Abhiyanta (Rural electrification engineer) to the village was on April 21, 2016.

"Only a handful of BPL households have been electrified. The others are still waiting for the work to resume. We communicate it to the officials, but there is no progress," says Banwari Pargi, Sarpanch of the village.

Five households in Sawan Ka Kyara were given electricity in 2008. But these were connections for the Above-Poverty-line families. "The terrain of this region is difficult," says the GVA.

Of the 495 ‘un-electrified’ villages, 44 per cent have been electrified, against the national average of 42 per cent. The State has 291 villages under 'to be electrified' category as on April 30.

Published on May 23, 2016
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