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Grid connected rural power scheme a ‘flop’ in Bihar, finds survey

According to reports, the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has failed miserably in achieving its mandate and objectives in Bihar, largely because of faulty approach and methodology of the scheme. Greenpeace India, during its recent social audit at Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh), Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) and Saran and Madhubani (Bihar), has found severe irregularities in the implementation of RGGVY. This audit was conducted to review the ground-level reality in the progress of RGGVY in these three states.

Greenpeace, after various levels of deliberations and survey work, has made certain recommendations to the Planning Commission which would be formally submitted to it early next month.

Bihar is one of the largest beneficiaries of RGGVY scheme in terms of budgetary allocation. The allocation for entire Bihar for RGGVY has been Rs. 4265.93 crore so far, of which 80.9 % money has been released.

During the survey it was found that 10,234 villages across 20 blocks of Saran district have been brought under the ambit of RGGVY. These villages are of ‘un-electrified and de-electrified’ category. Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) is the implementing agency of RGGVY project in Saran district.

It was found during the survey that 78% of the population surveyed was still living in darkness. An overwhelming 87% people complained of low voltage and erratic supply of electricity that often reached villages post midnight when it is of no use to them.

According to RGGVY website data, in Saran district, 100% work on village electrification has been achieved and a significant 98.1% (38872 out of 39644) BPL households entitled for free connection have received the facility.

Similarly, a total of 10244 villages across 21 blocks of Madhubani district have been brought under the RGGVY project. The villages under the scheme are of ‘un-electrified and de-electrified’ as well as of ‘previously electrified and taken up for intense electrification’ categories. National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) is the implementing agency of RGGVY project in this district.

In the case of Bihar, Greenpeace has recommended to take up a number of small scale renewable energy projects in the 12th five-year plan.

Its other recommendations are: Take long-term approach while deciding on the cost effectiveness of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) projects; provide finances, incentives and subsidies to DRE project’s; embed the social audit component in the scheme to enhance accountability of the system; mandatory provisions for the involvement of panchayati raj institutions for better implementation and sustainability of the scheme; and, provision for energy requirement for irrigation and medium and small scale industries.

All these are approaches that Panchabuta is totally in agreement with and this presents a tremendous opportunity for companies like Husk Power Systems, Simpa Networks and Onergy that are all working on what we have earlier called the “rural cleantech 2.0” model to address the “energy availability” problem in rural India.

We have earlier opined that such solutions will evolve on a  model where solutions providers will work with rural and social networks and enterprises as a financing and distribution partners that not just help but participate in the scalability of such solutions.

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