Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on Friday announced that his ministry would replicate Gujarat government’s Jyotigram Yojna, or rural electrification scheme, in other states to provide 24x7 power supply to every household.
The scheme was started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of the state.
Goyal and a team of officials visited Gandhinagar to study initiatives taken by the state in the power sector. They had a five-hour meeting with state Energy Minister Saurabh Patel and senior bureaucrats. “I have received training of the highest order from colleagues of Gujarat, who have demonstrated not only to the nation but to the world what government can do for the people,” said Goyal. “I will take this scheme to other states to provide 24-hour power supply across the country.”
He, however, added that though the model was successful in Gujarat it can’t be suitable for all states. “One size does not fit all. This model will have to be calibrated as per each state's need. Lesson on cutting down transmission and distribution losses and power theft is what other states need to learn. The first task of my ministry is to provide 24x7 electricity across India. We have to learn lessons from Gujarat on how to escalate power generation, cut down on transmission and distribution losses, control the every increasing cost of power and maintain efficiency.”
Under the scheme, Gujarat separated electricity feeder lines for agricultural and non-agricultural users, to make farm power rationing effective and tamper-proof. By providing a continuous, reliable full-voltage power supply for restricted hours daily, the plan made it possible for farmers to keep to their irrigation schedules, conserve water, save on pump maintenance costs and use labour more efficiently.
According to him, big states like Uttar Pradesh, which is facing acute power crisis, could benefit from the model.
The minister also enquired about the quality of coal supplied to state power generation units and how quality of coal needs to be controlled to increase efficiency of power plants. The issue of using railways for transportation of coal was also discussed.
“Given the statistics it would seem that there is not much of a gap in demand and supply of power in India. But in reality, there is a big gap. Thanks to policy paralysis that we have inherited, it will take some time to resolve the issues. I promise that in a reasonable time, we will be able to bring a revolution in the power sector,” the minister said.
Goyal also met Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and briefed her about the issues they had discussed during the meeting between state government officials and the central team.