Scheme After Scheme Fails the Electricity Dream

Salgadih Village, Khunti District, Jharkhand | Amita Tuti

A majority of Jharkhand, the coal centre of India, comes to a standstill each evening as the sun fades away. Most villages and cities see electricity for only about 5-6 hours a day. There are still other villages where there is no trace of a power supply. To combat the shortfall the Central and State governments have both devised schemes to bring the necessary infrastructure to even the most remote parts of India.
One of these, the Rural Village Electrification scheme, aims to reach renewable energy to to many such villages

In 2012, Pandu Munda, a resident of Salgadih village was promised a Solar home system at a subsidised rate under this scheme. On hearing of this scheme Pandu along with 20 other residents wasted no time in collecting the money they needed and filled out the necessary paper work. Now in 2015, their homes are still lit by kerosene lamps.

The Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency is responsible for the supply of the necessary units. The government provides a subsidy of INR 5,000 or 50% of the work to be carried out, whichever is lesser. The Rural Village Electrification scheme is meant to supply energy to areas where grid electricity cannot be reached through national schemes like the Rajiv Gandhi Electrification Scheme. In effect, Salgadih has been failed by each scheme.

Across India, the government is making attempts to promote solar energy. There is talk of setting up mega solar project in as many as 12 states of the country. However, if bottlenecks at the grassroots cannot be addressed, all efforts come to naught.

Call to Action: Please call the Deputy Development Commissioner, Manjunath Bhajantri and ask him to ensure that residents of Salgadih get access to the electricity promised to them.

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