Villagers left out of rural power scheme: Greenpeace

May 10th, 2011 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh), May 10 (IANS) A large section of people in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district have been left out of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), a scheme to provide power connections to homes, a study says.

The findings of the social audit survey by Greenpeace, the international environment watchdog, was released Monday at the Jansunwai, a public platform for listing out grievances, in Shahpur village of Azamgarh.

“In villages like Finihini and Todarpur, only 10 percent BPL (below poverty line) families have been included in the scheme. Local people informed that in many other villages that has not happened,” Akshay Gupta, campaigner for Greenpeace India and coordinator of the social audit in Azamgarh, said.

“In some villages the infrastructure installed is only to cater to 10 percent population, so that the formality of declaring a village electrified is done with,” he added.

The social audit of the RGGVY scheme was conducted in Tarwa and Mehnagar blocks of Azamgarh in April.

The public hearing was attended by people from the villages where the survey was conducted, administration officials and local leaders.

According to the report, the scheme is also riddled with the problem of illegal connections, where people just connect a wire onto a power line. This has impacted the quality of supply and infrastructure such as transformers.

Since the awareness about the scheme is low, it is also affected by corruption, the report said.

Above poverty line families have paid as much as Rs.5,000 to Rs.12,000 for a connection.

“The government has set up the scheme, but has not provided the support villagers need. Many respondents from Birpur and Kurhapar said they receive the bills every month even when the connection has not been given,” Lenin of Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), who partnered with Greenpeace in the audit.

According to him, this has led to a lot of unrest in the villages.

“Decentralised renewable energy has the potential to truly energise and develop India’s villages and the union government and the planning commission must consider it,” said Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India.

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