After Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala is readying to enter the select club of fully-electrified states. Each and every household in Kerala will have electricity by the end of May, state electricity minister M M Mani said here on Friday.
As much as Rs 700 crore has been pumped in for the electrification drive. There was also attention to optimise use of solar and wind energy sources. The minister told the state Assembly that a special facility has been created under the umbrella of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), for the promotion and popularisation of solar energy. Till now, out of the 29 states, only two — Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh — enjoy the status of fully-electrified states in India.
“The state government took the help of NGOs to identify the poor households who can’t afford a connection, and reach out to them for providing them with electricity,” a senior official in KSEB told FE. “For the tribal population living deep inside the forest areas in Kerala, we had laid down underground electric cables running as far as 30 kms within the forest. We made sure that no one was left out”, he says.
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state government had been ready to announce the full electrification of the Kerala on March 31. However, in deference to the election code of conduct in the context of Lok Sabha by-election in Malappuram, this announcement had to be called off.
“The official announcement is slated to be made on May 28. Currently Kerala produces 30% of its own electricity. The rest 70% comes from the neighbouring states at a rate of `10 per unit”, said the official, adding that Kerala government wants to produce its own power that it will sell at a subsidised rate of Rs 2.39 per unit.
In his Republic Day address, Kerala governor P Sathasivam had announced that Kerala was moving toward becoming a fully-electrified state, adding that the feat required the electrification of around 2.5 lakh households that were yet to have a power connection.
Replying to a question in the state Assembly, state power minister said that apart from full electrification, the government was also exploring the the feasibility of installing meters for street lights and transformers at the panchayat level. For one kilowatt solar project, Kerala government has been giving out Rs 1 lakh as grant, in addition to the central subsidy.