Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal
has charged the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh
with dithering on the central plan to provide 24-hour electricity to all households.
Talking to Business Standard in Lucknow, Goyal claimed all the state governments and Union Territories had signed the 24X7 power document mooted by the Centre except for UP.
"We had proposed that the Centre and states could work together as a team to provide 24-hour power supply to all households," he said and lamented while all the state governments and Union Territories had agreed with the proposal and came on board, the UP government has still not signed it.
Goyal had accompanied Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on Saturday to release the party's 2017 election document, which included the promise to provide 24-hour power supply if it comes to power in the state.
He claimed about 15 million rural and 3 million urban households in UP or roughly 40 per cent of the state's population was deprived of power connection.
He castigated the successive Samajwadi Party
(SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) governments in UP, which have been ruling the state for the last 15 years for the sorry state of affairs, especially in power sector.
"Why despite the Centre providing thousands of crores (funds), highest power allocation in the country, still the UP government over the last 15 years has not been able to provide power to poor households," he underlined and mentioned free power scheme was largely being centrally funded.
Replying to a question, Goyal said the biggest pitfall with regards to the UP power sector was the lack of political will to implement the central schemes and take power to every household. He also alleged largely scale corruption in the sector, which manifested in power theft and illegal connections.
"We have found 60,000 faults with regards to quality in rural electrification programme in UP, which has been notified to the state government but no action has been taken," he claimed.
He further said energy exchanges could only provide power during emergencies and does not ordinarily took care of base load, for which purchase agreements (PPA) were needed.
"However, the important thing is if PPAs are signed in a transparent and honest manner through bidding or surreptitiously. The important thing to see is if the state was buying power under PPAs to serve people or whether despite having adequate power and power capacity, the state government is signing new PPAs," he added.
He maintained there was sufficient power availability in the country, even if UP doubled its power consumption.