Yogi Adityanath's new mantra: 'Power for All', 18-hour power supply in villages
Yogi Adityanath arrives at Lucknow's Lok Bhavan to attend his first cabinet meeting on April 4. Photograph: (Reuters)
In his second cabinet meeting since taking charge, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath Tuesday ordered 18-hour power supply in villages, 20-hour at the tehsil-level (group of villages) and in the Bundelkhand region.
All district headquarters will be provided with power supply for 24 hours, power minister Shrikant Sharma told reporters after the three-hour-long cabinet meeting.
The state government also took the decision of signing a pact with the Centre to ensure electricity in all UP villages by 2019.
The chief minister directed the officials to ensure uninterrupted supply to the villages from 6 pm to 6am to help students prepare for exams.
"It is the dream of BJP chief Amit Shah and the Chief Minister that every house, every poor, and every village get power by 2018," Shrikant Sharma said.
The chief minister has directed the power department to ensure that defective or burnt transformers are replaced expeditiously in rural areas so that agricultural operations do not suffer, the power minister said.
Shrikant Sharma said the ambitious "Power for All" pact will be signed by Adityanath and federal power minister Piyush Goyal in Lucknow on April 14 to meet the federal government's target of making the state energy efficient by 2018 and help in ensuring power in all UP villages before 2019.
"It was the order of the chief minister that all Shaktipeeths (pilgrimage destinations) are supplied 24-hour power during Navratris and we have been successful in it...examinations are on and students should get power during the night so that they do not have to suffer," Shrikant Sharma said.
On former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's statement that there is nothing new in providing power during the festivals of Navratri and Ramnavami, he said the earlier roster system was not implemented on the ground and remained restricted to the residence of the chief minister, Shakti Bhawan and the VIPs.
"The difference is, our VIPs are poor residing in villages. We will take action against officers if the roster is not implemented at the rural level, which was ignored ealier. The government is working for providing 24-hour power supply by October 2018," he said.
Defective transformers will be changed within 48 hours and not in 72 hours -- the time fixed earlier. They will have to be replaced within 24 hours in urban areas. Announcing a one-time settlement scheme, the power minister said the government would waive off surcharge on domestic connections and take only the principal amount of the bill.
"For farmers having bills of over Rs 10,000 pending, they will get relief by making the payment in four instalments," he said.
In a bid to end woes of potato growers, the cabinet decided to purchase 1 lakh metric tonnes of potato at Rs 487 per quintal. "Government aims at giving adequate price to potato growers. If we cannot give them profit, we want to give them price of their produce," Sharma said.
The cabinet has also decided to ensure payment of current cane dues to cane growers within 14 days and old dues within 120 days. "Legal action will also be taken against sugar mills if they fail to make payments," he said.
(WION with inputs from PTI)