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Jyoti Gram Yojna to help rural development

Our Regional Bureau  |  Ahmedabad 

The Gujarat government's Jyoti Gram Yojna, which aims to provide three-phase electricity to all the 18,000 villages of the state, will become the backbone for rural development in the state, chief minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.
The government has already begun the work for providing three-phase electricity to villages.
Modi, who completed one year as chief minister of Gujarat today, said the project will not only lead to economic development of rural areas but will also boost agro-processing, handicraft and cluster industries in the state.
"In a village, there are about 500 houses that use electricity but there are less than half a dozen farmers who use electricity in fields located adjacent to the villages. We have attempted to make a differentiation between those who use electricity within the villages and those who use it in the fields," Modi said.
Dang is now perhaps the only district in the country, that has been completely covered by the Jyoti Gram Yojna, the chief minister said.
He added that, within a couple of months of announcing the scheme, over 500 villages have already become Jyoti Grams.
As per the scheme, people pay 30 per cent of the charges for installing electricity supply while the government bears the rest of the cost.
According to a Gujarat Electricity Board survey, the expenditure for providing 24-hour three-phase electricity to 16,990 villages in the state under the is Rs 693 crore.
The state government has provisioned Rs 70 crore for providing electricity under this scheme during the year 2003-2004.
Minister of state for energy Saurabh Dalal said that between 2500 and 3000 villages of the state would be covered under the yojna by the end of the current fiscal.
Dalal said the government plans to change 12 lakh faulty meters in the state in the year. In Jamnagar alone, 22 thousand meters have already been replaced and the government hopes to replace 35 thousand more meters by March 2004.
The minister said several villages have been applying for the by paying the initial deposit of Rs 1000.

First Published: Tue, December 23 2003. 00:00 IST