Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy (Independent charge) Piyush Goyal Friday said the UP government was “not concerned” about rural electrification and supplying electricity to the poor.
“Rajya sarkar bar-baar capacitor bank (electrical component used to temporarily store electrical energy) badhane ki baat kyun karti hai? Jab bhi meeting hoti hai, kehte hain ki hamein capacitor bank badhane ke liye paisa de do, gramin vidyutikaran aur gareebon ke ghar me bijli nahi bhi pahunche to chalega. (Why does the state government always talk about having more capacitor banks? They demand money for capacitor banks in every meeting, it doesn’t matter — to the state government — whether rural electrification takes place or not, whether poor get electricity or not),” the minister told reporters during a video-conferenced press meeting from New Delhi.
“In several meetings, I asked them to increase their capacitor bank through their own expenses because it was not in my priority. My priority is electrification at the house of the poor and replacing earthen lantern by LED lights,” Goyal said.
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He said the Centre will provide electricity to UP as per its demand, but the state government must improve its internal transmission network to ensure better power supply to people’s houses. He claimed that UP has not used the funds sanctioned for electrification.
Goyal said that if some one alleges that the state was not getting power of its quota, then that would be baseless allegation.
“People often ask me about power cuts in Ghaziabad and Noida. Officials say that the network of power transmission within the state was not working properly and causing power shortage at several places,” Goyal said, adding that anyone who says UP was not getting its share of power, then “that person would be levelling baseless allegations”.
The minister announced that the Damodar Valley Corporation has offered to provide 500 MW of additional power to UP. “I request the state to accept the offer,” he said, adding that more allocation will be subject to the state’s transmission ability.
On the state government’s repeated claims of “lack of cooperation from the Centre”, Goyal said such complaints should be directed to him. “While signing the agreement for UDAY scheme, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav ji had said that he was ‘happy’ that the Centre has introduced such a scheme. He had assured me that the Centre and the state will work in tandem,” Goyal said.
He also said that the Centre has sanctioned Rs 6,946 crore for UP under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana and Rs 4,721 crore under Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS). This, he claimed, was the most for any state in the country. “But there is an unfortunate situation wherein the state has not utilised this sanctioned amount,” Goyal said, adding that his ministry was “monitoring” the situation.
Goyal said only three new villages in the state were electrified in 2012-13 while none in 2013-14. “But, when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he asked the officials to expedite work in this regard while taking the state governments along. In the past two years, nearly 1,300 villages have been electrified,” he claimed.
Goyal also accused the Akhilesh Yadav of “not providing data of rural households” where electrification has to be done. He said the sooner the state government provides the data, the quicker work will start.
He also said the Renewal Energy Ministry was working on solar street lights for villages.