Akhilesh's new ruse: Announces free power connections for BPL families

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UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav
The Uttar Pradesh Government's recent announcement to provide free electricity connections to 1.72 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families in the State is not going down well among the people. The announcement came at a time when north India especially Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are reeling under severe power crisis for the last few days.

There is a severe power crisis in Uttar Pradesh where power cuts range from 8 to 12 hours a day.

Grave situation of Power supply in UP
Power officials concede the situation in the State is pretty bad and that there was a daily shortfall of more than 2,400 MW. On an average summer day, the State requires 14,185-15,000 MW of power while availability is 11,700 MW. The yawning gap has led to endless power rostering.

Of the State's demand for 12,700 Mw, power utilities are able to cater about 10,700 Mw, leaving a shortfall of 2,000 Mw. The State's power utilities are suffering transmission and distribution losses to the tune of 32%, which translates into loss of Rs 7,000 crore per annum to state exchequer. Power utilities of Uttar Pradesh are able to supply electricity for less than 13 hours in urban areas and eight hours in villages.

Notably, the State's share in hydro electricity is 1,677 MW while it gets only 950 MW. The nuclear power generation share of Uttar Pradesh is also not being met with. Uttar Pradesh has a quota of 595 MW in gas turbine power generation while it gets only 98 MW. Officials say the lack of coal supply from Coal India has hit power generation in the State.

Here, the question arises when the State is reeling under severe power crisis and State Government has already conveyed its helplessness in assuring 24X7 power supply, how can he provide free electricity to 1.72 lakh BJP families? From where the Akhilesh Government would arrange this electricity?

Moreover, given the poor track record of Akhilesh in fulfilling promises, the recent promise is not finding any buyers.

Long list of unfulfilled Akhilesh's promises
Akhilesh's two years in office has belied the expectations of voters who gave him thumping majority with 224 seats in the 403 member UP Assembly. Akhilesh began his tenure on a positive note by promising several transformative changes. He promised freebies like laptops, unemployment allowance and vidya kanyadhan to young girls. But, over a period of time he has failed to deliver results.

Soon after the humiliating defeat of the party, Akhilesh quickly put the populist schemes of providing free laptops to students and allowance to unemployed youths on back burner. Also, no provision was also made for the Kanya Vidyadhan scheme, which was launched for unprivileged girl students.

There is no denying the fact that condition of State has deteriorated in every aspect ever since Akhilesh took over the Chief Ministerial post. The poor condition of infrastructure, roads, drinking water worsened despite heavy budgetary allocations, while the power situation dipped to an all time low. Under such situation, we can only hope that Akhilesh's announcement to provide free electricity supply wouldn't be merely a mouth exercise.

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