The Gujarat High Court has directed the state government to provide electricity connections to at least 102 families living below poverty line (BPL) in Morbi district and making a living out of farming.
This was in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) by the president of the municipality of the area on Tuesday.
The HC directed the government to provide single phase electricity connection in the agricultural fields, which comes as a relief to the poor farmers living in the dark zones in the remote areas as well as urban centres across the state untouched by electricity.
The bench consisting of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala disposed of the petition filed last week by Iqbal U Zeda, President of Maliya (Miyana) municipality, Morbi.
Zeda had submitted that the electricity connection provided under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna to BPL families in Maliya village was stopped for 102 BPL families by the the respondents executive engineer and chief engineer of Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (PGVCL) and principal secretary, energy department, in 2011.
The petitioner states that after supplying electricity to about 250 BPL families, the PGVCL officials stopped the remaining work in which they were supposed to provide connections to 102 more BPL families.
The petitioner said “when the residents approached the PGVCL, they were orally informed that because of the misuse of power supply, a decision is under consideration before the state government to stop the connections.”
The petition said that he wrote a letter to the energy minister with a request to supply electricity connection explaining “the land of Maliya Miyana taluka and city are agricultural lands and, hence, for carrying out agricultural activities, irrigation is a must.”
The petitioner said that the authorities failed to divulge information on the grounds under which such a claim was made.
Earlier Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd had stated that the residential connection in the agriculture area should be given only to those who are having agriculture connection in the same survey number.
It was on this ground that the PGVCL had stopped the electricity connection.