Kerala, known for its high social development indices, turned a fully electrified State on Monday as part of the celebrations to mark the Left Democratic Front government’s first anniversary.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who made the formal declaration at an event here, added a personal note by recalling his childhood in a power-less village in Kannur district. During his childhood and college days, Mr. Vijayan said, the only source of light at home was the simple kerosene lamp. “The situation did not change much even after I became an MLA. Efforts to bring electricity to my village did not yield any results for a long time,” he recalled.
Later, even though many households had electricity, there was acute voltage deficiency and it was difficult to see if the light was on or not. “That was the time of power cuts and load-shedding too. From that situation, now the State is being declared totally electrified. We have come a long way,” Mr. Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister, however, said that more needed to be done in the days to come as we still had deficiency of quality power. Mr. Vijayan said the dependence on hydroelectric projects for power should be reduced and more focus should be on tapping solar energy. “We need to think of tapping the potential of solar energy when we think of constructing houses or new buildings. All the houses should have solar panels. If offices have solar panels, they can manufacture the power for their needs,” he said.
The State-owned Agency for Non-renewable Energy and Rural Technology would have to come up with new ideas and the agency would have to be equipped with the latest technology for the purpose. The Energy Management Centre too could chip in with new ideas, he said.
Electricity Minister M.M. Mani claimed that around 1.5 lakh households had been given new connections in the past one year, of which 1.32 lakh belong to the below the poverty line category. “This is one of the landmark projects taken up by the government on the lines of the land reforms, literacy campaign, and the decentralisation project,” he added. The Kerala State Electricity Board has given connections to all households except 1,000 families, including 150 families living in dense forests, Mr. Mani added.
Ministers T.P. Ramakrishnan, Kadakampally Surendran, E. Chandrasekharan, and A.K. Balan, and MLAs from the district were present.