Though the Centre has claimed 100% rural electrification in the country, 322 villages in Rajasthan’s Barmer district and 93 in neighbouring Jaisalmer are yet to get power, government data shows. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced April 28 as a historic day, claiming that all villages in the country were electrified on that day. Leisang in Manipur was said to be the last village to be added to the national power grid. Union ministers celebrated what they claimed as “powerful India”. According to official records, Barmer district has 2772 revenue villages. Power department data shows that 2450 villages have been electrified by March 31, which means that 322 villages are waiting for electrification. “We were directed to electrify 2450 villages (in Barmer) and we have achieved the target on time,” said Ashwani Kumar Jain, executive engineer and in-charge of Deen Dayal Gram Vidyutikaran scheme in Barmer.
Asked about 322 villages that are not yet electrified, Jain said, “Electrification of these villages is subject to investigation. Probably these villages came into existence after the 2011 census. As the electrification target was based on the 2011 census, there are chances that these villages are yet to be electrified.”
He said the picture would be clear if the ground situation of these villages was examined. “We can do it only on government’s directions. If we get directions from higher authorities, we will examine the matter and further action will be taken,” Jain said.
According to a Bloomberg report, a village is considered electrified “if 10% of its households, as well as public places, are connected.”
Congress national secretary and former Barmer MP Harish Choudhary, quoting government data, claimed that 91 villages in Jaisalmer district have not been electrified. He has written a letter to the PM, demanding electrification of the villages.
Choudhary said 40 of the 91 non-electrified villages in Jaisalmer are part of the desert national park. “Instead making false claims, the Prime Minister should check the reality at the ground and ensure electrification to all,” he said.