Bhubaneswar, June 4: Union minister of state for statistics and programme implementation Srikant Jena today expressed displeasure over the tardy progress of rural electrification programmes under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana in Odisha.
Jena, who reviewed the progress of the central government-sponsored scheme, said the Odisha government’s cooperation for the execution of rural electrification projects was far from “satisfactory”.
The review revealed that 8,431 villages in Odisha were yet to be electrified under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. Power supply had so far been provided to only 40 per cent of the total targeted below poverty line (BPL) families in Odisha.
Representatives of three executing agencies of the programme — the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) and the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) — attributed the delay in electrification in rural areas to delay in forest clearance, remote location of villages, inaccessible areas and problems related to Maoist violence.
While both the NTPC and the NHPC have been entrusted with execution of rural electrification programmes in 12 districts each, the PGCIL is responsible for electrification in the remaining six districts.
Jena also expressed displeasure with the private power distribution companies for their failure to upgrade the power infrastructure though adequate funds were available for the purpose.
S. Lohani, executive director of Rural Electrification Corporation, which is the nodal agency for the implementation of rural electrification programmes, blamed the slow progress in implementation on “lack of coordination” between the executing agencies and the Odisha government.
Lohani said a target was set to complete the rural electrification projects by December this year. He also said the executing agencies had been asked to prepare detailed project reports for the 12th plan.
Odisha government officials said more than one lakh BPL families had been left out from the rural electrification programme. Jena advised the officials to send proposal for inclusion of the left out BPL families in the 12th plan.