With the massive rural electrification programme under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana showing no signs of completion, the Planning Commission has engaged a private consultancy firm to conduct an evaluation study.
The development evaluation advisory committee (DEAC) of the plan panel has selected DJ Research and Consultancy Pvt Ltd, a city-based firm, for the study in a few select blocks.
The main objectives of the study are to assess the coverage of un-electrified villages, supply of electricity to BPL and APL households, public institutions like schools, health centres, panchayat offices and community centres, and the impact of the scheme on the economic development of rural areas, said Planning Commission Secretary Sindhushree Khullar in her letter to Chief Secretary BK Patnaik.
The private firm will also verify creation of infrastructure like rural electricity distribution backbone (REDB) with 33/11 KV substation in each block, distribution of adequate number of transformers of appropriate capacity for voltage stabilisation and metering of feeder lines.
The commission has requested the State Government to extend necessary support to the private firm for timely completion of evaluation of the infrastructure programme. Accordingly, the Energy Department has directed the four distribution companies to provide required data to the firm. Three Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) - NTPC, NHPC and PGCIL - assigned the job of rural electrification have so far completed works in about 32,000 villages against a target of 44,426 un-electrified, de-electrified and partially electrified villages.
Even as the programme was implemented by the three CPSUs in 2007-08, more than 12,000 villages are still to be electrified. The Centre had set a deadline to complete the rural electrification by the end of the 11th Plan period.
Sources in the Energy Department said infrastructure work relating to installation of 11 KV and 33 KV feeder lines and augmentation of sub-stations is grossly lagging behind. The delay is being attributed to inadequate deployment of skilled manpower by contractors and sub-contractors engaged by the CPSUs.
Sources said PGCIL has completed more than 90 per cent work under the Centre’s scheme in the 12 districts allocated to it. The districts are Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Khurda, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Sonepur, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri. NTPC and NHPC, the other two central PSUs, are seriously lagging behind due to insufficient deployment of manpower.
Energy Secretary PK Jena had recently reviewed the progress of rural electrification under RGGVY through a video conference and requested the collectors to monitor the implementation through gram sabhas at the panchayat level.