All below poverty line (BPL) households in the urban and rural areas of Uttar Pradesh will get free power connection while those above poverty line (APL) will be given 100 per cent financing option with easy EMIs. These decisions were taken after a marathon meeting between Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma.
According to the ministry statement, the major decisions that were taken during the meeting included giving free electricity connections to the urban and rural BPL households and APL households at reasonable EMIs by giving 100 per cent financing option. These electricity connections would be given without any discrimination on caste or religious lines and would be based on the latest Socio-Economic Census data, it said. Further, it said that an amnesty scheme would be given to all those households and commercial connections that want to take legal electricity connections. There would be a state-wide campaign against power theft, along with a drive to sensitize all the stakeholders to shun corruption and bring in honesty in the sector, Goyal stated in the statement.
Other important decisions that were taken during the meeting include making 100 per cent feeder separation and smart metering expeditiously, waving off of interests on electricity dues and provision of option of EMIs to pay off the principal amounts and bringing in zero government official discretion. It was also decided that there would be transparent monitoring to prevent harassment to the consumers at the hands of field officers and designation of state power official at each industrial feeder level who would be responsible for monitoring the consumption, billing, collection and ensuring 24x7 reliable quality power to the industry... Goyal has directed the officials of the power ministry to conduct the weekly ground level review of the progress of projects being implemented in the state with the state power department officers in Lucknow from next month onwards.
The Minister also directed the state power officers to devise a strategy to replace all the old thermal power plants in the state with Super Critical Power Plants and to engage in 100 per cent coal linkage swap so as to bring down the power costs for the common man. In the area of achieving energy efficiency in state power sector, Goyal directed the state power department to take steps like replacing all agricultural pump sets older than 10 years across the state with energy efficient pumps having a smart control panel; replacing street lights across all municipalities with LED bulbs; making affordable energy efficient fans and tube lights freely available to the people.
The Minister directed state-run EESL and the 4 DISCOMs in the state to make ten crores LED bulbs freely available under UJALA scheme and increased awareness among the common people for the same. Sharma assured Goyal the state power department officers would work in cohesion with the Power Ministry to implement all the decisions taken today within the stipulated time. He informed that the state power department is preparing a roadmap to ensure 24x7 affordable quality power for all rural and urban households by October 2018. It was also decided in the meeting that the state of UP would sign the "Power for All" document with the Centre by mid-April, 2017. "We have to bring an Urja Kranti in UP, and we will work together to achieve it, Goyal stated.