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 without electricity 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 houses,a significant nine lakh houses 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 GUVNLs (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.