Prafulla Das

BHUBANESWAR: Although Orissa is set to become the country's powerhouse, millions of people living in thousands of villages and hamlets in the State are still managing without electricity.

Of the total 47,902 revenue villages in the State, 17,935 villages do not have electricity supply at present. The Government is now preparing to provide electricity to these villages under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramya Vidyut Yojana (RGGVY), Energy Minister Suryanarayan Patro informed the State Assembly on Saturday.

Apart from 17,935 revenue villages, 38,370 hamlets too did not have electricity. These hamlets will also be provided with electricity under the RGGVY, Mr. Patro said.

Revenue villages

As regards the revenue villages that did not have electricity, Mr.

Patro said that as per the government records the number of such villages was 10,393 and not 17,935. But the number increased in view of the new norms under the RGGVY.

The RGGVY specifies that a village will be called electrified only when 10 per cent of the households and all the government institutions in it had access to electricity.

As regards rural electrification, the Minister said, detailed project reports pertaining to 24 of the total 30 districts had already been submitted before the Union Ministry of Power for approval and financial assistance. Once the proposal was cleared, rural electrification work would be started with the active support of various Central Government organisations such as National Thermal Power Corporation and National Hydro Power Corporation.

Till now, the Union Power Ministry had sanctioned financial assistance for the districts of Angul and Nayagarh, Mr. Patro added. A sum of Rs. 119.91 crore had been sanctioned for Angul, while Rs. 114.68 crore has been given for Nayagarh while Jajpur had been given provisional sanction of Rs. 175.72 crores.

The Minister said the State Government had already entered into a quadripartite agreement with various Central Government undertakings and the four power distribution companies for implementation of the RGGVY. A sum of Rs. 3,350 crore will be under the RGGVY, Mr. Patro said.

The Minister told The Hindu that the State Government had set a target to electrify all the villages and hamlets by 2009 and ensure supply of electricity to every household by 2012.

A total of 3417.166 million units of electricity is being produced in the State at present. Of this the surplus of 1501.466 million units are being supplied to other States by various agencies. The State has signed 13 memoranda of understanding for setting up new thermal power plants. Together, these power plants are likely to generate more than 15000 MW of power.