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Electricity yet to arrive in 119,849 villages in the country

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 26: The inhabitants of 119,849 villages in the country have never, in their lives, seen electricity light up their households but help is on the way.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that under the Rajiv GAndhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), during the current fiscal, 3685 villages have been reported electrified till February, 2006.

Under the scheme, it is proposed to electrify 50,000 villages during the Tenth Five Year Plan. Mr Shinde said it is proposed to electrify 10,000 villages in 2005-06 and another 40,000 in 2006-07.

GE Energy, the world's top electricity equipment manufacturing firm has shown keen interest in lighting up India's rural households.

Assuming an electricity requirement of 40 watt per Below Poverty Line (BPL) rural household and 200 watt on an average requirement per Above Poverty Line (APL) rural household, the total estimated requirement is 12,000 MW for 2.3 crore BPL household and 5.5 crore APL households, which are yet to be electrfied.

Electricity, being a concurrent subject, the supply and distribution of electricity in a state is the responsibility of the state government/state power utility concerned which decides the priorities of power supply to various categories of consumers in the state.

Mr Shinde said the government only supplements the efforts of the state governments by setting up of power plants through central public sector undertakings.

He said steps are being taken by the centre to improve generation and availability of power in the country--capacity addition of 41,110 MW has been targetted for 10th five year plan and around 60,000 MW for 11th plan increasing the Plant Load Factor (PLF) of thermal units, creation of National Grid for optimum utilisation of generation capacity and Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programmes for reduction of transmission and commercial losses.

Meanwhile, GE Energy has recently deployed a variety of power generation technologies to kick start rural electrification programmes in the country.

Earlier this year, U S Agency for International Development (USAID) along with GE had proposed to increase access to cleaner and more affordable energy services in rural India. USAID had said it would contribute 600,000 dollars for the programme while GE will invest up to 2.7 million dollars in direct and indirect funding.

The GE Rural Electrification Programme includes the use of renewable, biogas or waste gas technologies, as well as high-efficiency, low-emissions gas turbines and engines.

The technologies have been designed around renewable and waste recycling systems and help eliminate the dependence on transported fuels.

GE also will supply biogas engines for pilot projects in India. The engines operate on a variety of alternative or specialty fuels including biogas, crop residue, municipal solid waste, landfill, coal mine methane and industrial waste gases. The units feature advanced emissions and engine control technology that allows for the cleaner combustion of biomass for onsite power.

In accordance with the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP), the biggest initiative was the launching of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) by the Prime Minister in April, 2005 which aimed at electrifying all villages and habitations and providing electricity to all households.

The scheme aimed at creation of rural electricity distribution backbone with at least one 33/11KV or 66/11 KV sub-stations in each block. It also aimed at building up the village electricity infrastructure by installing at least one distribution transformer in each village or habitation.

Decentralized distribution generation would be undertaken where grid supply was not feasible or cost effective under the scheme.

The UPA Government in the NCMP has promised household electrification in the next five years, and with this end in view, it stated that the Government would pay special attention to augmenting and modernizing rural infrastructure and electrification.

Under RGGY 187 projects for 191 districts have been sanctioned at the cost of Rs.6241.70 crore. 186 projects will cover 51,316 un-electrified villages and 68,58,220 un-electrified rural households.

88 projects are under implementation in 91 districts. Number of villages electrified during 2005 is 1438. It is targetted to electrify 10,000 villages by March, 2006. Installation of franchisee system is under process in a number of states and is in final stage in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.


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