A village brightens up and learns to manage a solar power grid
Deexa Khanduri | February 18, 2019 | Delhi
Villages without power supply are easy to find though the government says there are none. The lines are laid, but many villagers are too poor to pay for electricity. BPL (below poverty line) families, entitled to free supply, are waived the installation charge. But they don’t have money to wire their homes. Others are held back by the fear that bills will rise beyond reach.
The solar panels and supply grid set up by HCL as a CSR initiative in Uchauli, Hardoi district, Uttar Pradesh. The IT giant has set up such grids in 13 villages of the district.
Outside every village recently electrified by the government, there are boards such as this one. They declare that the village has been electrified under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (also known as Saubhagya) or the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana. This board is in a village in Uttar Pradesh, a state in which the government claims all 74.78 lakh homes have power supply. What many boards, like this one, really say is that electricity has been brought to the village and that “those interested” in signing up have been provided electricity. Affordability, encouraging villagers to sign up by offering incentives – alas, the government mechanism rarely works with sensitivity that will consider those questions.
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