Electricity surplus Gujarat not so ‘power full’,reveals census

For a state government that pats itself for having turned Gujarat into a power surplus region by connecting all the urban and rural areas to the electricity grid,the census data of 2011 — that shows over 11 lakh households not having electricity as main source of illumination — could come as a shock.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Published: April 5, 2012 3:02 am

For a state government that pats itself for having turned Gujarat into a power surplus region by connecting all the urban and rural areas to the electricity grid,the census data of 2011 — that shows over 11 lakh households not having electricity as main source of illumination — could come as a shock.

The housing data of the census points out that there are over 11 lakh residences that do not use electricity in a state that has a power generation capacity of over 14,000 MW (mega watt) and claims to have 2,000 MW of surplus power.

Of these 11 lakh homes,a significant nine lakh homes are in rural areas,where the government claims to have finished implementing the Jyotigram Yojana (rural electrification programme) through which it has linked all the 18,065 villages of the state to the electricity grid (in just 30 months),providing round-the-clock,three phase electricity.

Gujarat became the first state in the country to claim all its villages had electricity. Former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam dedicated the Jyotigram Yojna to the nation in November 2006 in an elaborate event in Champaner of the Panchmahals district.

The census,however,belies this claim and points out that Gujarat has 11 lakh households that have absolutely no source to light up their homes. About 15% of these homes are in the urban areas.

There are about nine lakh houses that use kerosene lamps to light their homes. Of this,over eight lakh houses are in the rural areas,while the remaining one lakh are in the urban centres.

So of the total 1.2 crore households in the state,1.1 crore use electricity to light up their dwellings.

In 2010,Gujarat had declared itself a “power surplus” state when GUVNL’s (a state run power generation,distribution and transmission company) access to generation capacity crossed the 10,000-MW mark and touched 11,500 MW against the peak demand of 10,000 MW.

The state,which was power deficient barely a decade ago,now says it has surplus of 2,114 MW. In the next few months,Gujarat will be adding 3,000 MW of power taking the total power generation capacity to 17,000 MW through six new projects.

In the recent past,the state has sold the surplus power to states like Rajasthan,Tamil Nadu,Uttar Pradesh,Maharashtra,Andhra Pradesh,Delhi,Haryana,Karnataka,Chhattisgarh,Uttarakhand,Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

The census also found that there are 16,000 houses in the state that uses solar power as the main source of illuminating their homes. Of this,a majority 13,000 are in the rural Gujarat.

Only 46 lakh houses use LPG,PNG

Also,eye-opening are the census figures about fuel used in kitchens of the state.

For a state that claims to be the ‘energy’ hub of the country,the census data reveals there are only 46 lakh homes who either use Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) or Piped-Natural Gas (PNG) as fuel for cooking.

There is still a majority 63 lakh homes that either use age-old sources of fuel like crop residue (leftovers of crops),cow-dung cake or fire wood as fuel for cooking. Surprisingly,about eight lakh of such homes are in the urban areas.

Similarly,an additional nine lakh homes use kerosene to light their stoves; seven lakh of which are in urban centres.

There are over 46,000 homes that do not cook mostly due to exigencies of work. Of these,26,000 are urban homes. There are also one lakh homes that use bio-gas as fuel in their homes (65,000 are rural homes).

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