• Centre may fund new power connections

    The Ministry of Power is working on a scheme to extend financial support to states to offer new electricity connections to every household, free of cost. As per the proposal, the Centre intends to sanction long-term loans to electricity distribution companies to enable them to provide connections at the earliest. The Rural Electrification Corporation, a state-run company under the ministry, is preparing the guidelines for the scheme.

    The proposal will be discussed in the state power ministers’ conference, to be chaired by Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, on October 7 in Gujarat, a senior officer in the ministry told DH. Currently, free connections are being given only to below poverty line (BPL) families.

    The Centre will mainly fund the laying of electricity lines and installation of metres and other accessories. The distribution companies will have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the corporation to implement the scheme.

    According to the ministry, as on August 31, a total of 5.76 crore households in the country were yet to get electricity, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list with 1.81 crore households, followed by Bihar with 1.45 crore households. In Karnataka, as many as 9.5 lakh households are yet to get access to electricity.

    With most of the distribution companies not being able to meet the expenses to provide electricity connectivity, the ministry has decided to fund them. In many remote areas, individual households are not able to pay for laying power lines, the official said, adding if the financial burden on laying electricity cables was absorbed by the distribution companies, it would also help expedite the scheme. In the power ministers’ conference held in June, Goyal said all the states had resolved to provide 24×7 power supply to every household by March 2019 or earlier.  Markus Naslund Authentic Jersey

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