Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today expressed his displeasure over franchisee model of power distribution system and described its work as unsatisfactory especially in terms of rural electrification in the state. “In my opinion, the functioning of franchisee is futile (bekaar). The state government’s intention is to get rid of the franchisee (system). The electrification of some of the villages in few districts could not be completed because of the franchisee system,” Kumar said here. The chief minister was addressing a function organised by Energy department where he inaugurated, dedicated and laid foundation stones for various schemes of the department worth Rs 2660.51 crore that includes construction of grid and power sub-station laying of new 33 KV, 11 KV and Low Tension lines, sub-divisional control room cum customer facilitation centre, rural electrification, etc.
While referring to 633 unelectrified villages of the state which would be electrified by December 2017, the CM, who seemed unhappy with the distribution franchisee’s work, said that 24 villages in Muzaffarpur and six in Bhagalpur are yet to be electrified. He, however, asked the officials concerned to get these villages electrified by the end of the year. Distribution franchisees had taken over the power distribution network of town areas and its peripheries in Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Gaya about two-three years ago. A senior official of the power company, told PTI that these franchisees have not made any desired impact both in terms of providing service and improving revenue collection. Consumers’ complaints especially with regard to faulty electricity bills, power cuts, etc, still galore in these areas, he said adding that these franchisees were supposed to make investments to improve services and power distribution network besides carrying out electrification of villages that are included in their franchisee areas.
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Stating that every household will be provided electric connection by the end of 2018, Kumar said that of 633 unelectrified villages, electrification will be carried out through solar and renewable energy sources in 218 remote villages. Enumerating his government’s achievements with regard to improving power infrastructure of the state, Kumar said that “We have travelled a long distance from 45 grid sub stations (in 2005-06) to 112 grid sub stations at present and augmenting evacuation capacity from 1000 MW to 7000-8000 MW at present.” The state government has now shifted its focus to provide quality (with adequate voltage) power supply in the state, he said.
Making a fervent appeal to people for “power conservation”, he exhorted them to use power when it was required and asked officials and people’s representatives to make it a “campaign”. Kumar said that even the Centre during recently held Energy ministers’ conference hailed Bihar government’s decision to file zero base tariff petition and asked other states to follow the same. Speaking on the occasion, Energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said that the state drew a record power supply of 4100 MW few days back and was focusing on improving efficiency of billing and collection. Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, CM’s Energy Advisor P K Rai, Energy Department’s Principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit and other officials were present on the occasion.