BHUBANESWAR: Coming under strong criticism from opposition political parties for failure to provide electricity to backward areas of the State, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday set a target for the Energy Department to ensure power for all villages by May, 2017.
Besides, Naveen asked the department to provide electricity to all rural households by March, 2019. The CM, who reviewed the implementation of rural electrification programme in the State at a high-level meeting in the Secretariat, said electricity should be provided to Kandhamal, Nuapada, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts on a priority.
The CM also asked the department officials to provide power to all hostels for Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste students. Official sources said 2,156 villages were provided electricity last year while a target has been fixed to provide electricity to 1,318 villages by May, 2017. The CM directed the department to provide electricity to BPL families on a priority basis. So far, 64 lakh households in Odisha have been provided electricity connection.