BHUBANESWAR: With general elections some months away, the State Government has decided to introduce a new scheme “Ama Ghare LED light Karyakram” to provide four LED bulbs free of cost to each poor household.Announcing this while presenting the budget, Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said a provision of Rs 125 crore has been made for the new scheme. However, details identifying the poor households are yet to be worked out.
Political observers are of the view that the new scheme of the State Government is a counter to Ujala scheme launched by the Centre in 2015 under which more than 1.26 crore people have been benefited in the State. While the new scheme has come in for strong criticism from the BJP, the ruling BJD has defended it by stating that this is a new initiative to benefit the poor families.
While presenting the budget, the Finance Minister said in order to ensure electricity for all, Rs 560 crore has been allocated under the Biju Gram Jyoti Yojana, Biju Saharanchal Vidyutikaran Yojana and the State share of Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana ( RGGVY).
Behera said in order to provide 24x7 electricity supply with proper voltage, the State Government has launched the Rs 4000 crore project, Odisha Distribution System Strengthening Project (ODSSP), for establishment of about 473 33/11 kv sub-stations over a period of four years from 2014-15.
The Government has already completed 180 33/11 kv sub-stations under the project for which a provision of Rs 530 crore has been made for 2018-19. Stating that the Government is committed to provide electricity to all households of the State by December, 2018, the Finance Minister said the consumer base has increased from 16 lakh in 2000 to 68 lakh in 2017. So far, 47,655 villages have been electrified out of 47,677 inhabited census villages and the remaining villages will be electrified by the target date, he said.