Power Minister seeks Rs 36,000 cr for rural electrification

Power Minister seeks Rs 36,000 cr for rural electrification New Delhi: Determined to meet the target of providing electricity to all households by 2017, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia today said he has requested the Finance Minister to allocate Rs 36,000 crore under the 12th Five Year Plan for a flagship rural electricity programme.

Replying to queries during the Question Hour, Scindia said the government will provide power to 5,74,000 households in the next five years under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).

"I have requested the Finance Minister to allocate Rs 36,000 crore for RGGVY to meet this target of providing power to 5,74,000 households," he said.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj was not impressed with Scindia's reply and said several districts and villages have not yet been included in the RGGVY. She cited the example of Raisain district in Madhya Pradesh. The minister, however, maintained that Raisain has now been covered under RGGVY.

Several members complained that transformers provided under RGGVY get burnt.

Replying to question, Scindia said the reason for this is overloading due to unauthorised connections/illegal hooking, connected load being more than approved load in households given connections under the scheme and bypassing of the protection system leading to transformers getting burnt in case of overloading or fault.

Bihar is the worst affected state with 6,236 RGGVY transformers getting burnt, followed by Jharkhand (4,392) and Orissa (1,451).

Scindia said repair/replacement of burnt transformers is the responsibility of the implementing agency before the infrastructure is handed over to the discoms/power departments. After handover, the responsibility shifts to the discoms/power departments, who are expected to carry out the same as per their norms and procedures.

The Centre provides 90 per cent of the project cost as capital subsidy for establishing Rural Electricity Distribution Backbone (REDB) and Village Electrification Infrastructure (VEI) and provides free electricity single point connection to BPL households under RGGVY.

Scindia said the responsibility of implementing the scheme is with the state governments but several members, including some from the Treasury Benches, objected.

He stated that in 70-80 per cent of the cases the state electricity boards are implementing it.

"A monitoring matrix is being formed at the district level," Scindia said and accepted suggestion from Opposition benches that the local MP should be involved in this.