DEADLINE IN DANGER
Nature has come in the way of efforts to complete the rural electrification work by October 31 in Bihar.
Even though the Centre has set a March 31, 2018, deadline for completion rural electrification work, efforts were being made in the state to complete the work six months in advance.
According to the latest figures, 248 out of 39,073 villages of the state are still awaiting electrification.
A source in the Rural Electrification Corporation told The Telegraph: "There are two districts - Saran, Khagaria and West Champaran - where nature is set to delay the electrification work. The villages where electrification have to be done fall under flood-prone areas and carrying out work during the rainy season will be very difficult."
The Rural Electrification Corporation is monitoring the rural electrification work in Bihar whereas the North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited are the project implementation agencies for the work.
As far as Saran is concerned, the electrification work has to be carried out in 20 villages. In Khagaria, the corresponding figure is 6, whereas in West Champaran, 17 villages await electrification.
"Most of the Saran and Khagaria villages fall under riverine area and work is in these villages is likely to be completed by November-end," said the source, who claimed that work could not be started immediately after the end of the rainy season as one would also have to wait for water level to recede in riverine areas for starting the ground work.
In case of West Champaran, the electrification work has to be carried out through off-grid electrification but as the villages fall in flood-prone areas, the work was likely to be completed not before November-end.
Katihar is the other major district where electrification has to be carried out in 127 villages. The work in this district had slowed down as one of the agencies, which had been given work to do the electrification work in 32 villages, left the work midway.
The North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited will hand over the work of these villages to the second agency which too is working in the same district. Alarmed over the slow pace of work, energy principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit visited the district last week and took stock of the situation.
"Efforts are being made to complete the work in Katihar by October-end but the possibility of a November deadline cannot be ruled out due to the unforeseen situation arising out of the decision of one of the selected agencies to leave the work midway," said a source in the power company.