In a big leap towards ensuring regular electricity to all, the Uttar Pradesh government and the federal government signed a pact to provide 24 hours power supply to district headquarters, 20 hours to tehsil (group of villages) headquarters and 18 hours to all villages in the state.
The "Power for All" pact was signed in the presence of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and federal Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power Piyush Goyal at 5 Kalidas Marg, the official residence of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
While stressing that his government has "fulfilled" its promise, Adityanath said the goal is to ensure 24-hour power to all by November 2018, even as the power minister held that continuous electricity supply will help the state in industrialisation and job creation.
"In a democracy, if someone is really a VIP or a VVIP, it is the common man. Keeping this thinking of our prime minister Narendra Modi, we decided to ensure power to all in the state," Adityanath said.
"Today we have started to fulfill our promise and make it reality. Now onwards, every district headquarters will get 24 hours uninterrupted power supply, whereas tehsil headquarters will get 20 hours supply daily and all villages will get 18 hours of power," he said, adding, "Our goal is to ensure 24-hour power to all by November 2018."
The state government would give free power connections to BPL families and to ensure that no power theft is possible, it will also install "smart meters", he said, soliciting co-operation from the people.
"The way people of the country had displayed high levels of maturity and endurance in making the historic demonetisation a great success, they will also help the government in implementing the scheme honestly," he said.
The chief minister also hoped that the people would display "high morality" in making the best use of the facility.
"The government is providing a facility (and) people have every right to make a demand for their rights. But, at the same time, they should also be ready to pay at least the minimum price for the same, so that the service could be continued efficiently and uninterruptedly," he emphasised.
Adityanath also hailed the signing of the pact today coinciding with the 126th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar as a tribute to the Dalit icon and father of Indian Constitution.
"The innovative way in which the initiative has been taken to ensure power for all, be it the dalits, oppressed, deprived, poor or those residing in the villages, is a true tribute to vision of Ambedkar," he said.
He added, "If we do not match the speed at which the Centre wants to work, then we will lag behind. I want to assure Piyush Goyal that we will fulfill the promises of power for all. We believe in "Uday seAntodaytak" (from dawn of progress up to making it reach to the last person of the social ladder)."
He reaffirmed that his government would fulfil all the dreams of Ambedkar and BJP idealogue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. Federal power minister Piyush Goyal said "Power for All" is a scheme of the federal government.
"The thinking of the previous state government was that it would deprive the people of the availing the benefits of various schemes, if scheme does not carry the photograph of the chief minister. It is very sad that the benefits of this scheme eluded the people of the state only because of the photograph," he said, in an apparent jibe on the previous governments in UP.
Piyush Goyal said the government will be the first state government in the country to go for smart meters, and assured the federal government's support to it.
"Coal and power are in surplus today in the country. As per the directions of the chief minister, the state government has started purchasing power during night hours, so as to provide electricity to villages in the night. Yesterday one crore units of power were purchased," he said.
Piyush Goyal exuded confidence that with these efforts of the state government, UP will develop at a rapid pace. This will also help in industrialisation and job creation.
The Uttar Pradesh government and the federal government have entered into an agreement which promises to provide 24x7 power supply to all the households in the state.
Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, UP Energy minister Shrikant Sharma and state minister for Power Swatantra Dev Singh were also present on this occasion.
The state government also announced that it is expanding the ambit of helpline Dial 1912 through which the consumers in rural areas in coming days could communicate their grievances pertaining to power and electricity.
The Centre's undertaking Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) will install 10,000 energy efficiency solar-panel pumps will be distributed.
It was also agreed upon to distribute to energy consumers (through electricity distribution companies) energy efficiency bulbs, tubelights and fans at cheaper rates.
Apart from this, the rural consumers will also get the facility of making digital payment through e-bhugtan. As many as eight sub-stations of UP Power Transmission Corporation Limited worth Rs 331.69 crore and 12 sub-stations of UP Power Corporation Limited worth Rs 75.60 crore were also unveiled.