Time-bound Saubhagya scheme a mirage | REC delayed in material supply, Taga tells  Guv

By Pradeep Kumar

ITANAGAR, Nov 08: Power Minister Tamiyo Taga, who called on Governor Brig (Retd) B D Mishra on Wednesday to greet on Diwali, apprised him about the inordinate delay caused by Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) in supplying materials for implementation of Saubhagya scheme in the state.

“REC, being nodal agency, got the order from the union ministry though the state Govt was willing to execute it. But it never supplied the materials on time for execution of the scheme (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25.09.17 for providing free electricity connections to all households with December 31 next as its completion target,” he told this daily to have informed the governor.

The scheme intended to electrify 44,806 un-electrified households across the state, including 14,113 houses of BPL, 39,376 on-grid and 5,430 off-grid connections. Thus, the power department repeatedly pursued the NEC to supply materials, which gave three dates but failed. Thus, during a recent review meeting chaired by chief secretary Satya Gopal, the NEC has assured to supply all materials by December 25 giving proof of its incapability as December 31 is completion date, said Taga, accompanied with state ST BJP Morcha president Hinium Tachu.

Moreover, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on July 12 last had called for a well-coordinated approach by all stakeholders for successful implementation of the scheme. Thus, Taga had called on Union Power Minister R K Singh in New Delhi on October 1 last to seek his intervention, who appreciating the genuine problems of the hilly state had assured to issue directive to REC accordingly and assured extra financial support for the scheme, if required by the GoAP.

Taga while addressing second Global RE-invest, an assembly of International Solar Alliance and Renewable Energy Ministers, addressed by PM Modi and attended UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, at Vigyan Bhawan on October 2, had also drawn the Centre’s attention. But all efforts of the state Govt have come to a naught, rued Taga.

However, he informed about producing a copy of letter written to Union Minister Singh again on November 6 last to the governor, which indicated about very poor supply of materials by NECPDCL. It has so far supplied 13,813 of total 62,267 poles (22%); 6,301.22-km conductors out of 12,116.116-km (52%); none of 1,338 distribution transformers and 5,430 SPV sets (off grid). Thus, non-receipt of materials on time has jeopardized the execution works.

The NECPDCL would deliver the materials at seven pre-designated stores from where state’s power department would unload, download and transport to various villages. Though proposal amounting to Rs 202.19 crore for these works was submitted to the REC, but only Rs 31.40 core has been received so far, the letter added.

Saubhagya scheme aimed at electrifying all left-out Indian households, whose completion date has been advanced to December 2018 from original March 2019). The scheme covering both urban and rural households to offer free electricity connections to BPL households, while other households have to pay Rs 500 for the connection, recoverable by power distribution company in 10 instalments along with the electricity bills.

The total cost of Saubhagya project is pegged at Rs 16,320 crore, of which, 60%is funded by the Centre, 30% by bank loans and the remaining 10% by state Govts. Of the total outlay, Rs14,025 crore is proposed for rural areas.

The scheme envisages electricity connection for each household by drawing a service cable from the nearest electricity pole to the home, installing an energy meter, and wiring for a single light point with an LED bulb and a mobile charging point.

In case a pole is not available, a new one is erected with a conductor and associated accessories. For remote and inaccessible areas, electricity is provided through solar panels and five LED lights, one DC fan and one DC power plug can be used. Repair and maintenance for five years is also part of the scheme.

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